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In pink, NFL offers strong show of support for cancer awareness

It’s the football season; I am a big fan of the game. I enjoy watching from high school level — Go Austin Packers; college — I’m a Hawkeye who graduated from the University of Iowa. My professional team is the Chicago Bears, which I get a lot of grief about in Vikings land.

Have you noticed all the pink during the games? The National Football League wears pink in October. As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the NFL has taken up support through Crucial Catch and its focus is on the importance of annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 or older. October NFL games will feature players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel. Examples on the field include pink ribbon stencils, game balls and pink coins to help raise the awareness. What is really special about all of this is that all apparel worn at games by players and coaches, along with the balls and coins, will be auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society and team charities.

It’s pretty amazing to see so many men wearing the color pink each Sunday. Whether it's hats, pins, gloves or shoes, it's clear that this issue has directly touched the lives of so many in the NFL family, they are committed to help make a difference in breast cancer prevention. If you visit the NFL website, there is testimonial from player Larry Fitzgerald, a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals and how he lost his mom to breast cancer. Fitzgerald grew up in Minneapolis.

Some information on the website:

• There are more then 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

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• Women 40 and older should get a yearly mammogram.

• The best defense against breast cancer is finding it early.

• Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure recommends that you:

1. Know your risk

• Talk to your family to learn about your family health history.

• Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.

2. Get screened

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• Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk.

• Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk.

• Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at 20 and every year starting at 40.

3. Know what is normal for you

• See your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:

• Lump, hard knot or thickening.

• Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening.

• Change in the size or shape of the breast.

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• Dimpling or puckering of the skin.

• Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple.

• Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast.

• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly.

• New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away.

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices

• Maintain a healthy weight.

• Add exercise into your routine.

• Limit alcohol intake.

So the question is have you had your yearly mammogram if you are over 40? Or the question is when was the last time you had one? While my focus is physical fitness, you have to have a well-running body, have your annual physical, eat healthfully and sleep well. Remember breast cancer is the most common cancer for women. Men, you are not excluded from this topic. Men get breast cancer. When we see a certain color of ribbon we identify with an issue. This month is pink, so our thoughts and prayers go out to those who are fighting breast cancer and to survivors.

Reminder

Come join us in our annual Halloween Family Fun Night from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Sunday. There will be crafts, eerie eats, games and a Halloween maze, as well as door prizes and treat bags to take home. The event is free to member families and $15 for non-member families.

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