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Breast cancer – a different kind of battle

In 2016, there are more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, behind only lung cancer. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Fiona Kilfoyle/Released)

In 2016, there are more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, behind only lung cancer. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Fiona Kilfoyle/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

It’s the time of year when most people are preparing for battle.

Players are performing their pregame calisthenics, limbering up before the upcoming contest on the gridiron. Teams are huddled up last minute to go over strategy and execution. Flag football brings out the competitive and meticulous nature in its participants.

Amidst the crowd of competitors stands multiple players, decked out in a variety of pink clothing and accessories. Although they may oppose each other on the field, off of it they are playing for the same team. Looking like created players straight out of a video game, the reasons for their choice of attire are clear.

During the month of October, we shower ourselves in pink paraphernalia not for a football game, but to support those who are preparing for a different kind of battle – one with much greater significance.

“In 2016, there are more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S.,” according to www.breastcancer.org. “This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.”

Breast cancer awareness remains a cause near and dear to my heart. I’ve seen the physical and emotional toll it can have on its victims. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, behind only lung cancer. One of the most daunting facts about breast cancer is it isn’t even genetic most of the time. About 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.

Although we nationally observe breast cancer awareness in the month of October, it’s imperative to utilize preventative measures at all times. Whether it’s a self-examination, a trip to the doctor for a mammogram, or simply brushing up on basic information about breast cancer, increasing your awareness on the subject is a key contributor to getting the jump on breast cancer should you be diagnosed.

These measures should also be applied by men, as they have been subjected to breast cancer more in recent years. While the lifetime risk for men being diagnosed is only 1 in 1,000, the number existing alone should be enough to warrant awareness. Because of the rare nature of male breast cancer, cases are often fatal due to a lack of cognizance and the disease being discovered at an already dangerous level.

There are a multitude of avenues to pursue when it comes to breast cancer. Speak with your local practitioner or stop by the 30th Medical Group to learn more about how you can stay safe through preventative practices.

Although I don’t personally know anyone who’s dealt with breast cancer, I wear pink to show support of those, past and present, who have. The uphill climb these strangers face every day is an inspiration to me.

No matter what transpires on the field during our insignificant game, no amount of yards or touchdowns will equate to your ongoing fight. So keep preparing for your battle, we’re all here to support you.