Paint the Desert Pink
Cover photos by Randy Metcalf/Explorer Newspaper

Over the last several weeks since The Explorer announced its Paint the Desert Pink special section, the community has opened up, telling stories of inspiration, courage and strength.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the stories are about women who have survived breast cancer, who are currently seeking treatment, or the people who make their life’s work about helping those who have been diagnosed.

However, it is important to stress that cancer comes in many forms, and breast cancer is not the only one that requires attention. Men and women, adults and children can be diagnosed with one of the many forms out there.

Because cancer can infect anyone at anytime, it is important that all of us listen to doctors when they say early detection is key. If you have a nagging side pain, don’t ignore it.

That nagging pain could be something serious. And, if diagnosed quickly, could be treated without a problem. Cancer is a disease that can spread, and-spread quickly-if not treated. When it comes to cancer, denial is always the wrong choice.

For instance, look at breast cancer. It is one of the most treatable forms of cancer if detected early. However, that lump or shooting pain that doesn’t feel quite right can’t be diagnosed unless you go to the doctor. There is always going to be a fear of being diagnosed, but I would much rather face that fear and live, rather than deny its there and die.

If you do not have insurance, there is always assistance available somewhere. Don’t be afraid to get online, do the research and find the help that could be the difference between life and death. Look at the Marana Health Center; look at other programs that promote women’s health by providing free mammograms to women.

If you aren’t sure of where to look, don’t be afraid to call your local hospital. They have a vast database of information about programs available in your area.

And, always remember that while the pink ribbon signifies breast cancer awareness primarily due to the good work of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Cancer Society bears the purple ribbon, because it is the universal color for cancer.

So, while this month pink has been splashed seemingly all over the nation, remember that when you see that purple ribbon, it is in honor of everyone who has cancer, has died from cancer or for family and friends supporting the cause.

A cure for one cancer will benefit all forms, so we should always be cognizant of anyone impacted by this horrible disease.

Whether it’s breast cancer, prostate cancer or leukemia, we should always ban together for the common cause of finding a cure and not just a treatment.

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