Think pink for breast cancer awareness month

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Save a Sister wants local businesses to think pink this October in honor of breast cancer awareness month.

The collaboratiion between Kalispell Regional Healthcare, North Valley Hospital and the Flathead City-County Health Department strives to improve women’s access to mammograms and raise awareness for breast cancer. Most health insurance companies cover the cost of screening mammograms, but Save a Sister offers funding for those who do not have coverage. The organization provided 171 mammograms between the three facilities last year.

Breast cancer affects 123 of every 100,000 women in Montana according to the Centers for Disease Control. And nationwide, an estimated 252,710 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year in women and another 2,470 in men. Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.

Mammography is the most effective screening tool to find breast cancer in the majority of women and can reduce the risk of dying from the disease by as much as 40 percent.

In Montana the proportion of women up-to-date with recommended screenings is lower than the national average. A Montana Department of Health and Human Services study showed that the leading reason for this, selected by 26 percent of respondents, was that they felt healthy and didn’t think a mammogram was necessary, followed by 22 percent who reported no reason for not having a screening.

The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 40-44 of average risk should consult with their healthcare provider to determine whether starting mammograms is right for them. At age 45 through 54, annual screenings are recommended and every two years beginning at age 55 if they are in good health.

Save a Sister is encouraging area businesses and organizations to increase breast cancer awareness among their staff by promoting special activities at the end of each week. A few ideas for “Think Pink on Fridays” include hosting a pink-themed dress-up content, decorating the business in pink, using pink supplies for the month or providing pink treats to customers.

Participants are encouraged to share photos of their efforts to recognize breast cancer awareness month with Save a Sister by emailing saveasister@krmc.org. Save a Sister will provide complimentary mammogram pledge stickers by request. To order stickers or Save a Sister t-shirts, call 758-1468.

Reporter Mackenzie Reiss may be reached at 758-4433 or mreiss@dailyinterlake.com.

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