EDITORIAL: Breast cancer awareness is more than a color

This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cause represented with the color pink.

According to a National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. The second and third most prevalent are lung and prostate cancer, according to the NCI.

Breast cancer has touched many lives, whether it be directly as a patient or as a caregiver, friend or family member. The good news is modern medicine has helped many patients with early detection and treatment.

Raising awareness is part of this effort. It brings in funds for research and patient assistance. And it's a reminder of the importance of self checks and early detection.

The same goes for many other types of cancer. Early detection can't be overstated.

The Southeast Missourian recently profiled several individuals who have battled breast cancer. Their stories are inspiring. Survivor Verona Lambert told the newspaper about how important it is to be a voice of encouragement.

"When I'd go in for chemo, I would always look for the person who wasn't making eye contact, who was looking down in the dumps. I would choose the seat next to them and strike up a conversation with a stranger," Lambert said. "That became my M.O.: try to be positive and share that positivity with others."

If you're battling any type of cancer, we pray for your full and complete recovery. But the message to all of us: Be an encourager. The cancer battle is a tough one. Having a support system can make a big difference. Be the person who encourages others.