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Stay in the Pink all year around

It’s October and pink is everywhere!  My mother and sister, both breast cancer survivors, have sported their pink bracelets. Everybody…men and women… wear pink.

I’ve seen pink socks, ribbons, scarves, earrings, hats and hair, even pink-wrapped cotton bales.  Cheerleaders have waved pink pom poms. and football players have put on the pink.  And pink pumpkins are promoting cancer awareness because cancer can be a scary thing.

But, it’s time to counter that fear with pink know-how and “stay in the pink” year-round, because, dear readers, there’s more to do than wearing pink in October to stop cancer.

Put pink to the test. We had to memorize the Seven Warning Signs of Cancer back in the 6th grade and it scared me to death! I’ve never forgotten them. Today, though there are more than seven, we still need to have them memorized.

By learning the warning signs and symptoms, by knowing our bodies, and being ever alert to changes we possess more power in taking control. Let’s call it pink power!

So, here they are, regrouped to make Seven Warning Signs of Cancer. But, the number doesn’t matter,  just learn them anyway you want to count them:

(1) Skin changes including moles and warts, fingernail and toenail beds, lumps and/or thickened areas,  (2)unexplained sores that won’t heal, (3) changes in bowel and bladder habits, (4) any of the following: unexplained weight loss, extreme fatigue, weakness, dizziness, fever, unexplained pain, and/or jaundice, (5) a persistent cough and/or hoarseness, trouble swallowing and/or indigestion (6) white patches in mouth and/or tongue; and (7) unusual bleeding or discharge anywhere on/from the body.  Read, reread, and memorize. There will come a test….

Take pink to heart.  From knowing these signs and symptoms you can understand why it’s so important to have your regular medical, dental, and vision check-ups and recommended screenings.

If you do notice any of these red flags the next immediate step is to report it:  make an appointment with a doctor or neighborhood clinic, or tell someone (a spouse, your sister, an adult child, a friend, a colleague, your preacher…anyone who can help you help yourself).  There’s no good in delaying.

Think pink. Thanks to ongoing cancer research we now know of certain behaviors to avoid (as in things to not do!)  to reduce the risks of cancer: smoking… and that includes anything that you inhale into your lungs…tobacco products, vapors, marijuana, and hazardous chemicals and materials as well as the use of oral tobacco products;  all alcohol use is linked to increased cancer risks (even excess beer drinking which can lead to weight gain); sun exposure and tanning beds; and obesity which also increases the chances of chronic diseases which weaken your immune system.

There are two factors which greatly influence our cancer risks, but which we have no control over: family history and aging.  In this case we must put on our pink big person underwear and face it…do whatever we can do to control the other risks which we can do something about (re-read the above paragraph).

Eat pink!   Eat salmon, shrimp, apples (red and pink), plums, pink and purple grapes, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, purple cabbage and lettuces, red peppers, and purple onion for good health as part of a plant-based high fiber, cancer fighting diet. Red meat is high in protein and iron and important for building red blood and muscle and doesn’t have to be excluded.

A 3-ounce portion 2 – 3 times every week can be very beneficial, just avoid charred areas which are known to contain cancer causing nitrites.

Be pink!  Brush and floss your teeth daily for pink healthy gums. Stay well-hydrated and include a good variety of iron rich foods for making healthy red blood. And, be active every day with whatever exercise works best for you to help circulate healthy oxygenated blood for rosy cheeks and nail beds.

Pink power! More power to the person who is the CEO of his or her own body. Be in charge, make good decisions, pay attention to yourself and pay attention to cancer in the news, make application to yourself as we learn more about causes and cures, and learn from past experiences and your family history. The benefits of staying in the pink greatly outweigh the risks.

So, let’s stay in the pink 24/7. Even if you don’t wear the tee shirt or the ribbon … you can practice the power of pink… learn it, believe it, apply it, practice it, eat it, live it and share it.  Pink looks good on all of us, all the time, every month of the year!

Recipe of the Week

Saucy-Grilled Salmon

Pink tastes so good!

4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients except salmon. Coat large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil with cooking spray.  Place foil on grill rack over medium hot coals (350 – 400 degrees). Puncture foil with fork several times for air flow. Place fillets on foil; grill covered 6 minutes each side or until fish flakes easily when fork tested, basting frequently with soy mixture. Transfer to serving platter; garnish with lime wedges and serve warm.