EDITORIAL: Going pink to fight breast cancer

Beyond the tragedy of breast cancer and the thousands of lives it affects and ends every year, there is hope.

Breast cancer is detectable and treatable.

With that in mind, today’s edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal was printed on pink pages to remind readers that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s the fourth straight year we’ve published a pink paper. Stephens Media newspapers in Mesquite, Pahrump and Boulder City will go pink today as well.

It has been nearly three decades since the Susan G. Komen Foundation held its first Race for the Cure. Two decades ago, the foundation began handing out pink ribbons at its fundraising runs to call attention to the disease. Since then, the link between pink and breast cancer has greatly expanded to include everything from clothing to yogurt container lids. Pro baseball players have swung pink bats. Even the Strip’s famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign has gone pink.

Especially during the month of October, pink expresses support for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, recognizes those who survived their fight with the disease, honors those who died, and reminds everyone that steps can be taken and more must be done to keep breast cancer from striking in the first place.

The disease kills about 40,000 American women each year. About one in eight women can expect to be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. The disease hits men as well, albeit in much smaller numbers — about 1 in 1,000. However, breast cancer rates have declined about 2 percent per year since 1999, and the death rate is in decline as well. These trends are attributable to improvements in treatment and early detection.

The National Cancer Institute now recommends that women older than 40 get a mammogram every year or every other year, depending on family history and risk factors.

Today’s pink newspaper has breast cancer stories and features throughout. All of the proceeds from single-copy sales of today’s newspaper will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society. The Review-Journal will host a breakfast celebration today at the Suncoast, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., to kick off those sales.

The victims of breast cancer need support, but not just from loved ones, friends, health care professionals and researchers. They need support from you.

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