October is breast cancer awareness month. Pink will be the color of the month to bring awareness to breast cancer – from early detection to research initiatives. There will be pink parades, pink newspapers and NFL players wearing pink cleats and socks. There will be pink ribbons galore!
According to American Cancer Society statistics, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women with the exception of skin cancers. About 12% of women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. This is one in eight women nationally. The estimates for 2015 include about 290,000 new cases of all forms of breast cancer and 40,000 women will die from this disease.
This is definitely significant, and most all of us know and love someone who has been touched by breast cancer. However, not to diminish the importance of breast cancer awareness, consider these facts:
Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Nearly 2,200 Americans die every day from cardiovascular disease – that’s one every 40 seconds. Over 85 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke.
Almost 10% of the U.S. population has type II diabetes and 1 out of 4 of that 30 million are undiagnosed. Eighty-six million individuals are pre-diabetic. In 2010 alone over 300,000 death certificates identified type II diabetes as an underlying or contributing cause of death, and the medical and lost productivity costs exceed $245 billion dollars annually.
It's estimated that 36 million people are now living with Alzheimer's Disease, and if the current rates continue, an astonishing 66 million people worldwide will have Alzheimer's disease in 2030. On average, every 68 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's, and by 2050, that incidence will increase to every 33 seconds. Current costs for care exceed $200 billion annually and that does not take into consideration the burden on unpaid caregivers.
The pink campaign has worked with incredible effectiveness to raise consciousness about breast cancer and its impact on women nationally and globally. Cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease have equally devastating and long-lasting societal impacts and can benefit from the increased focus on research that pink provides. Let’s re-think pink and support all clinical research in communities like our own – research that brings HOPE, makes a difference, and may save a life.