I was struck while watching the pink-helmeted University of Oregon Ducks run over the Washington State University Cougars. As a local oncologist, I often feel like the Cougars, — cancer seems to be running over all of us.
Breast cancer awareness was the reason the Ducks chose their wardrobe. This disease currently affects one in eight women in their lifetime. Breast cancer is preventable by the very lifestyle activities that those athletes epitomize: good nutrition, regular exercise and a sense of purpose. Monies and effects to fight cancer once established and spread are both costly and ineffective in reducing the overall burden of cancer to our communities.
I urge those in the Pacific Northwest to devote their efforts, monies and time into local, sustainable, community-centered programs to improve the overall health of our communities. Like a football team, we all have a role. Whether this is the local school board supporting the health schools initiative and incorporating the Armstrong foundations’ curriculum into its core PE program, or church and local groups starting and maintaining community health intervention programs — all of us can reduce the burden of cancer without any need of future wonder drugs or new technologies.
With these efforts at our local level, there may come a day when the Ducks can just wear green.