Nashville, Tennessee – While most recognize the color pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October and November mark the second annual Tennessee Pink and Pearl campaign promoting breast and lung cancer awareness.
The addition of the pearl color represents the Lung Cancer Awareness Ribbon, which is observed in November. While breast cancer is the most common cancer in Tennessee women, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.
Routine cancer screenings continue to be extremely important. Nationally, more than 3.9 million breast cancer screenings are estimated to have been missed due to the pandemic. Providers encourage all eligible people to undergo routine examinations, including routine cancer screenings. With fewer screenings, there are fewer diagnoses of breast cancer, which can lead to the diagnosis of some cancers at later stages with a poor prognosis.
“Routine screenings are an important part of a person’s health care journey,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “With the right screening and interventions, we can save more lives and stem the growing number of breast and lung cancer deaths in our state. The Tennessee Pink and Pearl Campaign raises awareness of these treatable conditions and reminds us that we all have a role to play, whether it’s our own screening or supporting that of a friend or family member. .
If your financial situation has changed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, you may be eligible for free breast cancer screenings through the Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program (TBSCP). TBCSP provides breast and cervical cancer screening services to uninsured and underinsured women and diagnostic tests to eligible men and women. Learn more about the program at https://www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/fhw/rwh/tbcsp.html or contact your local health department for more information.
Breast cancer screening recommendations (Optional)
Current guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend that women begin regular mammograms at age 50. Depending on the risk factors, some women may need to start screening at an earlier age.
Lung screening recommendations (Optional)
The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer in adults aged 50 to 80 who have a history of smoking for 20 packs and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.
Although breast and lung cancers affect people of all races and ethnicities, they are among the many diseases that disproportionately affect minority populations. For both types of cancer, black men and women are more likely than their white counterparts to be diagnosed at later stages, and blacks are also more likely to die from these diseases. The data also indicates that black women and men are diagnosed with more aggressive subtypes of these cancers than their white counterparts.
“In breast and lung cancer, screening is often imperative for early diagnosis and to maximize the chances of a better prognosis,” said Office of Minority Health and Disparity Elimination Director Monique. Anthony, MPH, CHES. “As COVID-19 continues to amplify these inequalities on vulnerable populations, including the lack of quality care, the availability and cost of diagnostics and follow-up care, stigma, unfair care policies and practices health. TDH is committed to reducing disparities and promoting health equity by increasing access to cancer screening, conducting cancer prevention education and awareness strategies, and encouraging minority inclusion.
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It is important to talk to your provider about your risk factors and to determine if screening is right for you. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/breastcancerawareness/index.htm for breast cancer and https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/basic_info/ for the lung cancer.
Rose and pearl day
To recognize this campaign, Friday November 5th will be Pink and Pearl Day. Please support this campaign and raise awareness of both breast and lung cancer by wearing pink and pearl. Photos posted on social media are popular, using the campaign hashtags #TNPinkandPearl and #MyPinkandPearlWhy.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of the people of Tennessee. Learn more about TDH’s services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.