Be well, Marsha: 10/06

The month of pink and purple

By Marsha Bonhart

Statistics this and statistics that. For a lot us, the numbers in those mathematical probabilities become names of people—some of whom we know, some of whom we love.

This month, we address two health issues that tell us every day 113 people die from one and five people die each day because of the other. We also know that if left unchecked, each has the potential to be a killer.

That’s not all the two share. The month of October has been reserved to raise awareness about each, and color theory welcomes their components of hue to the same family: one carries its banner in pink, the other in purple.

Breast cancer and domestic violence.

An estimated 2 percent of the 209,000 new breast cancer cases diagnosed annually are men—the guess on the 12 million people who are yearly victims of rape, stalking or physical violence tells us a small percentage of those incidents involve men as well.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, section 2919.25, no person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member. No person shall recklessly cause serious harm to a family or household member and no person shall, by threat of physical force, cause any family or household member to believe the offender will cause imminent physical harm to the family or household member. “Family or household” includes roommates, spouse, former spouse, someone with whom you share a child, live in, relatives by marriage or any family member.

The code further states anyone who violates that section of the ORC is guilty of domestic violence, one of the most common and serious accusations. Also, those charges are more likely to be dropped because of the instability of relationships and victim intimidation. Despite that, The American Bar Association has identified 20 states (of which Ohio is one) and the District of Columbia, that carry mandatory sentences for domestic violence charges.

Last year, the YWCA Dayton, which has domestic violence shelters in Montgomery and Preble Counties, responded to more than 2,000 calls on its 24-hour domestic violence hotlines, and provided 20,777 nights of emergency protective shelter to more than five hundred women and children in both counties. Other programs that provide care for victims of battery include the Family Violence Prevention Center of Greene County and the Artemis Center for Alternatives to Domestic Violence.

Each year, more than 200,000 men and women are diagnosed as new cases of breast cancer.

By the age of 40, women are strongly advised to begin yearly mammograms, the low dose x-ray that can pick up the presence of lumps in the breast. Mammography, monthly self-breast exams along with regular visits to a doctor are recommended for early detection of breast cancer.

But sometimes traditional mammograms get tricked by an elusive tumor and a good diagnosis can depend on the density of the breast. In a conversation with radiologist Diane Anderson, DO, a newer diagnostic tool is being used at Good Samaritan North’s Breast Center in Englewood. The automated whole breast ultrasound, or AWBUS can pick up the presence of a tumor that may be difficult to diagnose and is also a good tool for women who have breast implants.

Traditional mammography shows dense tissue as white, and cancerous tumors also show up white on the readings. But the AWBUS interpretation of malignant breast tumors shows darker, so greater contrast means a cancerous presence can be picked up for faster diagnosis and treatment.

The ultrasound transducer starts under the arm and takes vertical lines of travel until the entire breast is pictured. Anderson compares it to screening layers of packaged bacon with each strip being carefully checked for irregularities.

Premier Health, of which Good Samaritan North is a part, offers 3D mammography at its imaging centers.

According to Premier Health, the 3D mammogram gives the examining radiologist a better look through many layers of breast tissue. You can even compare it to how you watch television—the experience you get with HD TV instead of your traditional screen. A picture that is more clear gives doctors better advantages to see what looks curious, especially when comparing it to a previous mammogram.

So to modify the familiar chant of the NFL Oakland Raiders, “we wear the silver, we wear the black,” we have the option to wear pink for breast cancer and/or purple for domestic violence awareness.

It takes all of us, regardless of decorative hue, to recognize and be educated about two very serious health issues in or out of the month of October. After all, the statistics represent the names of people whom we know and love.

Be well,


Domestic Violence Hotline for YWCA Dayton and Artemis Center for Alternatives to Domestic Violence: 937.222.SAFE

Family Violence Prevention Center of Greene County: 937.372.4552 or 937.426.2334


Marsha Bonhart is a veteran television news anchor and health reporter who feels it is her mission to help you stay healthy. She says she battles her seriously addicted craving for salty potato chips. Reach her at

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