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Keyport baseball
May 22, 2018

Paint the Town Pink

By Lori Draz

Keyport baseball

Keyport Baseball

It’s that time of year when storefronts, signs, lampposts, and ladies and gentlemen everywhere will be displaying proud pink patronages in honor of Paint the Town Pink to raise awareness for breast cancer warriors, research and women’s health.

Paint the Town Pink is a community-wide effort presented by Hackensack Meridian Health to connect women to wellness and raise awareness of the importance of annual mammograms and annual health screenings

It all began in 2006 in Red Bank, or as it is known in May-Pink Bank. Then it was a week-long effort of a small group of women who wanted to make a difference. These women wanted to remind all women to get their annual mammogram. Despite some naysayers those women got the support of nearly 100 businesses that first year.

Now Paint the Town Pink has grown to encompass the entire month of May and the entire state of New Jersey, with 84 towns led by 84 amazing CWOs (chief wellbeing officers for their town) and nearly 1,600 Pink Partners. As the event has grown they’ve expanded the message beyond mammography to self-care. Every year, the event and campaign reminds thousands of women to get their annual mammogram — and for some it saved their life.

The Journal Magazine is proud to be one of those Pink Partners. They are even hosting a giveaway where the winners will win a year membership to Bella Vista Country Club in Marlboro with 6 rounds of golf and a $50 Frutta Bowls gift card. Just tag two friends in their video:

During Paint the Town Pink month all women are reminded to have their annual screenings and to make their overall wellness a priority. Women are also encouraged to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle and to make a difference in the lives of the women of the community.

One in eight women will develop breast cancer within her lifetime and early detection and an improved state of well-being is a woman’s best defense against cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Verda Hicks

Dr. Verda Hicks

Verda Hicks, M.D., FACS, FACOG is Chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and medical director of Gynecologic Oncology for Hackensack Meridian Health Cancer Care in Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties. She practices at the Perricone Cancer Center located Jersey Shore Medical alongside Dr. Karim El Sahwi, and Dr. James Bosscher. She notes that Hackensack Meridian Health is making a great effort to bring women’s health to the forefront during the month of May and stresses that common sense healthy lifestyle choices like not smoking, weight and stress management and exercise are key components of maintaining good health. She also shared that there are other preventive practices such as the Human Papillomavirus vaccination. Both boys and girls may be vaccinated as early as nine-years-old. It is also very important for patients to discuss their family and personal history with their doctors, so that appropriate actions can be recommended.” She also shared some exciting news.

“HMH will be opening a specialty clinic for women with combined cancers in the new Hope Tower at Jersey Shore Medical later this year. It clinic will serve as kind of a one stop shop for all their related health care.”

Most new therapies are targeting the genetic mutations of the tumor themselves. The treatments are targeted to the genetic abnormalities of the tumors. This genomic testing for targeted therapy of tumors is a tremendous advancement in the treatment of breast cancer, as well as many other cancers such as cervical and ovarian. This type of “precision medicine” uses information about a person’s genes and proteins to prevent, diagnose, and treat their disease and open a whole new area of therapies that were previously unavailable in the fight against cancer. Today, we are able to utilize targeted therapies – which are drugs or other substances – that block the growth and spread of cancer. They allow physicians to use a particular therapy that affects the target (cancer) in a way that interferes with specific molecules that are involved in the growth, progression and spread of cancer.”

Many different targeted therapies have been approved for use in cancer treatment, and more continue to be developed by physicians and researchers who are committed to finding cures and helping patients live longer. In fact, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, we are actively involved in clinical trials that are in development, such as a new trial for ovarian cancer.”

If you would like to connect with Dr. Hicks call (732) 897-7944.

At the heart of all the Paint the Town Pink events and promotions are the Chief Wellness Officers or CWO’s of each town.

Dr. Amy Eschinger

Dr. Amy Eschinger

Dr. Amy Eschinger, is the CWO of Colts Neck. She got involved last year when she taught the Girl Scouts about women’s health issues. As a CWO she is responsible for raising awareness for the event and getting businesses and organizations to ‘show their pink’ in support. She is excited to see how the event continues to grow and how enthusiastic everyone is to this positive reminder for women to take care of themselves. She also encourages all women to briefly step aside from their caregiver roles and make their wellness a priority. “As a physician, I see many patients who have delayed getting care, so any effort to have early diagnosis makes a positive impact on the outcome.”

If you would like to learn more or get involved, visit