It’s time to think pink

 This month it’s time to think pink … do the right thing then reward yourself and go shopping

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OCTOBER is Breast Cancer month. It’s that time of the year when we all “think pink” and support those affected by the disease in our community.

Originally co-created and launched 20 years ago by the late Evelyn Lauder, daughter-in-law of Estée Lauder who survived breast cancer but lost her life to ovarian cancer in 2011, the iconic pink ribbon has become a global symbol to raise awareness of breast cancer. It is, perhaps, the most successful and effective cancer awareness campaign.

I had the enviable pleasure of meeting and interviewing Evelyn Lauder back in 1988 and again when she was in Sydney to officiate at the “pinking” of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2004.

Every day in Australia about 50 women are diagnosed with breast or a gynaecological cancer. So pink ribbon fundraisers have become part of our social conscience. We actively support everything from pink breakfasts, lunches, morning teas and barbecues. We gather the BFFs for a Girls’ Night In. Others wear pink and dedicate special days to do it. The pink sisterhood is alive and well, continuing to raise awareness of the importance of early detection and much-needed funds for research and support services.

While breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), research indicates that survival rates continue to improve in Australia with 89 out of every 100 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer now surviving five or more years beyond diagnosis.

But it’s not just breast cancer that needs our support. There are other cancers and their campaigns that are just as important. Think silver for ovarian cancer (February), blue for prostate cancer (September) and purple for Dr Charlie Teos Cure For Life brain tumour campaign. Did you buy a yellow daffodil for skin cancer in August? Don’t forget lung cancer month is November, put your walking shoes on when you Light The Night for blood cancer research and join the movement to get behind the bowel cancer awareness campaign in June.  And there are still more, too many to mention them all here.

However, overarching all of these is World Cancer Day on February 4. Statistics estimate that about eight million people worldwide die of some form of cancer every year and it is estimated that by 2030 that number will rise to 12 million. But that could be significantly reduced through cost effective prevention, early detection and treatment strategies.

Everyone has been touched by cancer somehow somewhere. People near and dear to us – family, friends and colleagues. My father died from prostate cancer in 2002. And there have been scrapes with testicular, bowel and skin cancers with other family members. As a consequence, my siblings are all pro-active when it comes to early detection and prevention. Only last week I received a letter from my local breast screen clinic reminding that I am due for my biennial mammogram check!

So please take the time this month to find out what you need to know about breast awareness and share this important information with your family, friends and colleagues.

HOW TO BE BREAST AWARE

Detecting breast cancer early is the best chance of survival, so it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any changes. What to look for:

  • a new lump or lumpiness, especially if its only in one breast
  • a change in the size or shape of your breast
  • a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
  • a nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • a change in the skin or your breast such as redness or dimpling
  • an unusual pain that doesn’t go away.

For more information, to donate or show your support for breast cancer, go to Cancer Australia, Think Pink Foundation, Pink Ribbon Day.

What are you loving this week? Any news to share? Would love to hear from you. Ever stylishly yours …

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