October 1, 2011
We trust you have noticed that on the face at least, today’s The Robesonian looks different.
The pink has a purpose: It is to make our readers pause and consider for the moment the realities of breast cancer, and to provoke action that might save the life of a loved one.
Staff writer Ali Rockett has written two stories today on breast cancer, so we will steer you there for most of the details about the No. 1 killer of women, the technical advances that have enhanced early detection, and the likelihood for successful treatment if the disease is not allowed to silently advance too far.
But of all the statistics that Rockett provides in her two stories, the one we find the most distressing is this: In Robeson County, more than 60 percent of women who should be getting mammograms as a matter of routine, don’t. There are a lot of factors that drive that percentage unacceptably upward — with ours being a poor county that is home to too many people who don’t have health insurance, topping the list — so educating people about the need for a mammogram is critical to reducing that percentage.
There are local funds available to assist qualifying women with the cost of a mammogram.
The message is hopeful: Early detection gives physicians an upper hand in the battle.
Only a few decades ago, breast cancer was basically a death sentence; now it kills only one out of 35 American women who are diagnosed with it. Additionally, medicine has advanced so that treatment no longer leaves the physical scars that women fear, which is one reason so many have historically skipped on the mammogram, preferring blissful — but perhaps deadly — ignorance.
So we hope that today’s newspaper has colored some of our readers’ thinking about breast cancer. There really aren’t any good reasons for women 40 years old and older not to have regular mammograms.
Doing so truly can be a lifesaver.