The Times West Virginian

October 3, 2013

We’ll be united in the important battle against breast cancer

Times West Virginian

— This year, an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among U.S. women.

While that statistic from the American Cancer Society is startling, the organization whose mission is to eliminate cancer as a major health problem says approximately 39,620 women are expected to die from the disease this year, second only to lung cancer in terms of cancer deaths among women.

So it’s no wonder that the push for pink, breast cancer awareness’ signature color, is so strong.

It gets even stronger in October, which is recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month each year.

That means the issue is on everyone’s minds, and that’s the whole point. Generating awareness is one way to help make sure our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our grandmas, our aunts, our neighbors, our friends and our co-workers know that if they ever hear those four dreaded words — “You have breast cancer” — we will be united in the fight with them.

Marion County is certainly engaged in the fight.

Tricia Oliveto is a good example. You’ve probably seen her pink tow truck, part of Squirrel’s Towing in Fairmont. It’s decorated with a pink ribbon in honor of breast cancer awareness.

But individual efforts are just the beginning.

This Sunday, F.O.P. football players and cheerleaders will honor loved ones who have battled cancer during a “Pink Out” at East-West Stadium between the 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. football games. Organizers said they planned the event to create awareness and help the kids understand why their favorite college and professional teams often wear pink uniforms or accents.

The F.O.P. teams are not alone when it comes to wearing pink for awareness in the county — boys’ and girls’ teams in every sport and at every middle, junior high and high school often take part in similar campaigns.

Then, on Oct. 11, efforts will be recognized during the dedication of Fairmont General Hospital’s new digital mammography machine, which went into service in late July and was purchased with $500,000 raised through a community fundraising campaign. The ceremony will be part of the hospital’s Women’s Health Awareness Day, an annual event that includes important health screenings and information for women in the area.

We can’t stress enough just how important screenings like mammograms are. Statistics show that Marion County has an especially high rate of women — 25 percent — diagnosed with breast cancer dying. That’s higher than the national average.

Because of that statistic, Marion County is one location that has been targeted for a pilot program sponsored by the American Cancer Society called the CHA program, which stands for Community Health Advisors. Volunteers go out into the community to teach people about diseases such as breast cancer and where in the area to get screened for it.

It’s easy to see that individuals, groups and businesses throughout the county are doing their part to promote awareness.

The Times West Virginian wanted to do its part, too. On Monday, we’ll unveil a very special project that staff members have been working on for months. It’s been a tireless effort, and one we’re excited to share. Not only will it help further promote breast cancer awareness, but a portion of the proceeds raised through the initiative will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

There is hope. There’s a cure waiting to be discovered.

And with so much money raised thanks to special promotions and awareness campaigns throughout the month of October, that cure is closer than it’s ever been.