Point of View: Honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October

Pink flags show support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Have you noticed all of the pink flags popping up this month in front of restaurants, stores, healthcare providers, offices, bars, and even the movie theatre? What a beautiful sight! Those flags proudly flying in front of Homer area businesses show support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and represent donations to the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, an organization I joined as CEO earlier this Fall. Each of those pink flags celebrates breast cancer survivors, remembers those we have lost to breast cancer, and honors the scientists searching for a cure and better treatments.

Because “1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime” (www.cancer.gov), these flags also serve as a reminder to all of us that prevention and early detection can literally be a lifesaver. The more evidence-based information we have, the more intentional and less stressful decisions we can make. This summer, KBFPC expanded the clinic offerings with more hours and access to providers to better serve the reproductive health needs of the Southern Kenai Peninsula communities. Wellness exams, breast cancer screenings, and referrals for mammograms are just some of the essential services we provide.

At KBFPC we build meaningful, lasting relationships with our clients by listening to their lived experiences and unique perspectives to respond with individualized, high-quality care. All of our services are accessible to people of all identities and regardless of ability to pay, because we all deserve access to high-quality reproductive healthcare. With essential funding from the federal Title X program, we are able to offer no- and low-cost services like breast cancer screenings as well as accept private insurance, Medicaid and private pay.

Preventative care and early detection are now more important than ever. The strain on the entire healthcare system can make major health decisions more challenging. KBFPC will help you get the important health information and the support you need to make critical decisions about your reproductive and sexual health. This month, join me in pledging to have an annual wellness exam and, if appropriate, a breast cancer screening at KBFPC or with your primary care provider. Better yet, make it an annual event on or near your birthday. You are worth it.

Thank you to each of the more than 60 businesses that have already donated during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Your contributions and show of support are critical to the services we offer. If you would like to donate to have a pink flag flying at your business, there is still time. Visit our beautiful, newly updated website for more information on how to donate to the Pink Flag campaign and how to make an appointment in the clinic.

Claudia Haines is the CEO of the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic a tax-exempt organization since 1985 which, in addition to clinic services, also facilitates comprehensive, evidence-informed, peer-taught sexual health and wellness lessons to middle and high school students across the southern Kenai Peninsula region and provides teens with a safe space to foster healthy relationships and make healthy choices at the R.E.C. Room. She can be reached at claudia@kbfpc.org or 907-235-3436.