Breast cancer awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Everywhere one looks there are flashes of pink to concentrate the message that too many mothers, wives, sisters and daughters still fight the scourge of this disease every year.

The American Cancer Society press web site also reminds us that over three million of our citizens have either completed treatment for breast cancer or are still being treated.

So, there is a strong reason for the pink sleeves on football uniforms, pink lights shining on buildings and pink ribbons on thousands of lapels. Everyone has a friend or family member who has been — or will be — facing a bout with breast cancer.

As The Maui News Women’s Health tabloid has pointed out in the past, women are their own first line of defense against breast cancer. Through self-exams, they should search for:

• A lump, hard knot, or thickening inside the breast or underarm area;

• Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast;

• Change in the size or the shape of the breast;

• Dimpling or puckering of the skin;

• Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple;

• Pulling in of nipple or other parts of the breast;

• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly;

• New pain in one spot that does not go away.

While these may be benign, if you notice any of these symptoms see a health care provider to be sure.

The rest of us need to commit to regular contributions to the American Cancer Society.

You may make a secure donation online at www.cancer.org/. Click on Donate Today in the middle of the screen.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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