This is a comment written by Nancy Johnson, CEO of Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer Research Wing in St. Joseph/Candler.
When one thinks of October, images of cooler weather, foliage, and pumpkin spice may automatically come to mind. Of course, an anthology of peak sanity images wouldn’t be complete without a few well-thrown ghosts, goblins, witches, and black cats.
In recent decades, pink has steadily become synonymous with the widely recognized four weeks Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
However, hurricanes and tropical storms are rarely at the forefront of anyone’s thought patterns when thinking about the sights, sounds, and events of October.
But obviously not this year.
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Most of us have all watched the weather, ever-changing storm tracks and hourly forecasts for the past several days. After years of advanced research, robust satellite imaging, high-tech geophysics and other space age observation methods, weather experts can easily provide accurate information early enough to ultimately save lives.
In many ways, a similar analogy can be said about breast cancer. After years of significant medical advances, genetic research, dramatically advanced diagnostic and imaging tools, and increased awareness of the threat, breast cancer specialists can more easily help patients avoid catastrophic outcomes.
Either way, awareness of the threat is only part of the equation. Positive outcomes can only be achieved through action—whether that is by responding to dangerous warnings and evacuating the path of a targeted storm or proactively taking responsibility for one’s personal health.
Either way, procrastination does not lead to survival. We must silence the hum of fear, embrace the accepted knowledge of experts, ignite our personal power of control and accept the responsibility that we can be the masters of our own well-being and our ultimate destiny—but only through knowledge and action.
That’s why St. Joseph/Candler, the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer Research Wing and the Mary Telfair Hospital for Women, are partnering once again with the Savannah Morning News to paint the city pink. This annual campaign, now in its 15th year, is a concerted effort to create community awareness of the disease and the power of early detection through mammography.
Through a month-long series of news articles, daily insights, survivor profiles and other featured stories, our PAINT THE TOWN PINK campaign will introduce current knowledge, stress the importance of early detection and encourage everyone to be active in protecting themselves. health, while encouraging those they love to do the same.
As with any impending storm, knowing the threat gives one the ability to act. Early detection of breast cancer is also key to survival, and mammography remains the best diagnostic assessment tool. Today, the survival rate for those diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer exceeds 95 percent.
Unfortunately, there are too many in our society with a lack of health insurance or high deductibles, which puts a life-saving mammogram examination out of their financial reach. Despite knowing its importance, working to do something about it greatly hampers.
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The Solution: The Telfire Mammography Trust in St. Joseph/Kandler is making mammography services accessible to those who can’t afford it by removing this labor barrier and making this crucial test possible—because whether or not someone has health insurance, it is Necessary that need a mammogram, get it.
The Paint the Town Pink campaign encourages all women to schedule a mammogram during the month of October. A special day for mammography has been scheduled at six appropriate locations across the region on October 31. Make an appointment for a mammogram by calling 912-819-PINK or visit sjchs.org/PINK for more information.
Together we can weather the storm of breast cancer, prevent its devastating effects on women and their families, and ultimately save lives.