Why Do People Wear Pink Ribbons?
— By Andrea M. Pampaloni, Ph.D.
Although cases of breast cancer continue to rise, the likelihood of death from this cancer has decreased thanks to increased awareness, early screening and effective treatments.
While many organizations use colored ribbons to promote awareness of specific diseases, the trend began 30 years ago with the little pink ribbon that has come irrevocably linked to breast cancer awareness. Longevity may be working in its favor because although cases of breast cancer continue to rise, the likelihood of death from this cancer has decreased thanks to increased awareness, early screening and effective treatments.
Obesity is an independent risk factor for both development and recurrence of breast cancer, and there is a one in eight chance that a woman will develop breast cancer. Post-menopausal women who are overweight or have obesity through their adult life, or who gained weight in their adult life, have an even higher risk. Women with obesity also are less likely to get a mammogram, and obesity also is linked to more complications during surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, and reduced efficacy of some therapies, even when dosage adjustments are made for weight.
Can Weight Loss Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?
Weight loss, particularly for women over 50, is associated with lower breast cancer risk. This holds true even for a modest, sustained loss of five pounds. For women who lose more weight (in the range of 20 pounds), the risk is also lower, even if some weight is regained.1 This is important because weight loss, combined with physical activity, can improve outcomes and helps boost immunity.
Using a Very Low Calorie Diet, such as New Direction, as part of a medically-supervised weight loss program can contribute to weight reduction and weight maintenance. Reducing caloric intake is one of the most effective steps a patient with obesity can take to ensure better health outcome, and it can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and recurrence.
Because environmental and familial factors that are beyond the control of patients also can contribute to breast cancer, it is important that women are aware of the risks they face and empowered to take control of the aspects of the disease that they can manage to minimize those risks. Weight loss and increased activity are two high impact options they can choose to protect themselves and the other women they love.
About the Author: Dr. Andrea Pampaloni has over 20 years of communication experience across corporate, academic, nonprofit and government sectors. She provides research and writing services on a range of business issues and industry-specific topics to prepare white papers, articles, proposals, presentations, technical content, and speaking points, as well as marketing-communications content such as blogs, website content, newsletters, news releases and award submissions. Dr. Pampaloni’s research findings have been presented at national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals, and she is a ghostwriter for three books, a Forbes article, and several corporate blogs.