Paschen is regional spokesman for the American Cancer Society.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. How has the 2012 campaign compared so far to previous years? We are still early in the month, but we're increasingly seeing a greater and greater interest in breast cancer, in part because of the ubiquity of the pink ribbon. Still, breast cancer remains one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in women.

The pink ribbons have emerged as an enduring cultural symbol. As a marketing guru, how much has the color pink played a role in amplifying your message?

We definitely believe in the power of the pink ribbon. I think it's just so easily encapsulates what it stands for; it's just a nice symbol. From a marketing symbol, I think it's great.

Has pink been overplayed like some critics have said? We could all have a debate about that, but I'm glad we have more awareness than less. There have been some thoughtful discussions about the marketing of the pink ribbon, but you do see it everywhere.

There was a high-profile fight this year between other organizations that are fighting breast cancer. Have you seen any fallout from that politically tinged battle at the American Cancer Society? It was a very interesting situation to watch play out. We're all different organizations, but we're on the same team. We haven't experienced any blowback, though.

How close do you think we are to achieving complete awareness of breast cancer?

It's not nearly as mysterious as it once was. The conversation has to take a turn to what we will do to treat and diagnose patients. The big hurdle is access to mammograms. You may know about them, but can you afford them? The awareness is great, but the actual getting the work done is where we're putting a lot of energy.

- Alan Blinder

-- Alan Blinder