Early Detection Is the Best Protection

Tennessee Promotes Cancer Awareness, Screening & Celebrates Annual Pink & Pearl Campaign
Thursday, October 05, 2023 | 11:00am

NASHVILLE - This October and November, the Tennessee Department of Health is promoting breast and lung cancer awareness with the annual Pink & Pearl Campaign.

The Pink & Pearl campaign combines the pink ribbon, a recognized symbol for breast cancer awareness, with the pearl ribbon representing lung cancer awareness. While breast cancer is the most common new cancer in female Tennesseans, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.

“Routine cancer screenings are incredibly important and essential to your life-health plan, and increase your chance of surviving a cancer diagnosis,” Tennessee Health Commissioner Ralph Alvarado, MD, FACP, said. “We can save more Tennesseans from breast and lung cancer if we decrease cancer risks like tobacco use and intervene early in cancer detection.”

Breast Screening Recommendations
Current federal health guidelines recommend women begin regular mammogram screenings at the age of 50. Depending on risk factors, some women need to start screening at an earlier age. Women should talk to their healthcare provider and can visit the CDC’s breast cancer awareness webpage for more information.

The Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program (TBSCP) provides breast and cervical screening services to uninsured and underinsured women, and diagnostic testing for qualifying men and women. Uninsured and underinsured individuals requiring treatment for breast or cervical cancer, or for precancerous conditions of these diseases, may qualify for TennCare coverage through the Presumptive Eligibility Program. Visit TBSCP online or contact your local health department for more information.

Lung Screening Recommendations
Adults ages 50-to-80, with a 20-pack-year smoking history, and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, should talk with their healthcare provider about their risk factors and determine if annual lung cancer screening is recommended. Visit the CDC for basic lung cancer information.

Driving to a Cure
TBSCP also supports its cancer screening program with the Driving to a Cure Tennessee license plate. Tennessee drivers who currently have a Driving to a Cure plate can receive the new plate design when they renew their vehicle registration online. New registrations for the Driving to a Cure specialty plate can be made in-person at any Tennessee County Clerk’s office. The fee for the plate is $61.50 annually.

Reducing Disparities
While breast and lung cancer impact individuals of all races and ethnicities, they are among many diseases that disproportionately affect minority populations. For both types of cancer, Black men and women are more likely than their white counterparts to be diagnosed in later stages, and Blacks are also more likely to die from these diseases. Data also indicates that Black women and men are diagnosed with more aggressive subtypes of these cancers than their white counterparts.

Pink and Pearl Day
On Fri., Nov. 3, 2023, Pink & Pearl Day, Tennesseans can support the campaign by wearing pink and pearls and sharing pictures on social media using the campaign hashtags #TNPinkandPearl and #MyPinkandPearlWhy.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.