Although autumn is traditionally the time of year when trees loose their leaves in the western hemisphere, one can find in the lobby of The Outer Banks Hospital a “Pink Tree” that blossoms and grows month-long in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“The Pink Tree of Honor and Memory is a thoughtful and caring way to pay tribute to women who have or have had breast cancer by placing their name on the tree,” says Betse Kelly program manager of the hospital’s Cancer Resource Center. “Additionally, this year we encourage cancer survivors to honor and thank their co-survivors - the person who stood by them and provided support during their cancer journey to be remembered on the tree as well.”

According to a study conducted by the Healthy Carolinians of the Outer Banks, cancer is the leading cause of death in our community. Mammograms are among the best early detection methods, yet 13 million U.S. women 40 years of age or older have never had a mammogram, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

“The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely – once is not enough,” adds Betse Kelly.

When breast cancer is found in its earliest stages, the chance for successful treatment is greatest according to the American Cancer Society. The Society recommends that women set up a personal action plan that includes the following components:

  • Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40.
  • Clinical Breast exam should be part of a periodic health exam about every three years for women in their 20’s and 30’s, and every year for women 40 and older.
  • Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any change promptly to their health care providers.
  • Women at increased risk (e.g., family history, genetic tendency, past breast cancer) should talk with their doctor about the benefits and limitations of starting mammography screening earlier, having additional tests, or having more frequent exams

For more information about breast cancer, programs and services for cancer patients and their families or about the “Think Pink” tree call 449-7350.

About the Outer Banks Hospital Cancer Resource Center

The Outer Banks Hospital’s Cancer Resource Center is dedicated to helping patients with cancer better understand their diagnosis and treatment and cope with the disease. The Center, which was created with funds generated by The Outer Banks Hospital Development Council, offers a variety of services to help people dealing with cancer. This includes education, counseling, and helping patients connect with others sharing the same experience. All services of the Cancer Resource Center are provided at no cost. The Center is located on the second floor of the Medical Office Building adjacent to The Outer Banks Hospital and is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and by appointment. For more information, please call 252.449.7350, or email cancerInfo@theobh.com.