The first National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) was declared in 1985 in the USA. Since that time, when many of us were still kids, great strides have been made in both treatment and prevention of the disease. For example, progress was made in an experimental vaccine—thus far only tested in mice—that may stop breast tumors from developing. Today’s knowledge of genetic changes at the molecular level in breast cancer cells would have astounded researchers at the first NBCAM.

The organizers wanted to raise awareness of all aspects of breast cancer. Today, they likely would be astounded to find just how aware of breast cancer our society is. The iconic pink ribbon is seen everywhere. And thanks to the courage of survivors, The Cancer Society of the Bahamas, Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group, and thousands of others internationally, awareness of breast cancer can be called a rousing success.

But as healthcare providers, we know that’s not enough. For all the progress that has been made, breast cancer is still, unfortunately, the number two cancer among women. Many of those could have been saved with more knowledge, focus and action on proven prevention and early detection interventions.

This is where we at Ports International continue making a difference, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. One way we are raising awareness is by providing pink exam gloves to clinicians: a very visible way to remind women (and men) that breast cancer is still touching lives and that early detection and prevention is still key. In addition to awareness, Ports International will donate the proceeds from the sale of pink exam to the Cancer Society of the Bahamas. “We know that mammograms save lives,” explained Michele Rassin, “If all women received regular screenings and early mammograms, the death rate would fall by another 20 to 30 percent.”

In addition to raising awareness, those pink gloves that we’re wearing help provide free mammograms internationally to women who cannot afford them. The manufacturer, Medline Industries, distributed locally by Ports International, contributes a portion of every box’s price to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, USA, which has provided over 130,000 free screenings since 2004. Medline is also the sponsor of the Pink Glove Dance video that went viral on You Tube last year. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2011, multiple sequels are debuting on PinkGloveDance.com —now featuring both hip-hopping healthcare workers and boogieing breast cancer survivors. “It’s a way to build awareness, celebrate life and embrace the hope we all share,” explained Sue MacInnes, the President of marketing at Medline. For more information about pink exam gloves, contact Ports International at (242) 377-1771 or portsintl.com.

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