There's an old riddle that asks: What is black and white and red all over?

The answer: A newspaper.

Of course, this riddle must be spoken because it relies on the same pronunciation of the words, "red" and "read."

On this particular day, that old riddle does not work. You've no doubt noticed that today's Observer-Dispatch is pink. "What is black and pink and red all over" just doesn't cut it.

But the pink does work to raise awareness to breast cancer. And despite being peppered by pink reminders all around us, we must all remain ever alert to breast cancer and the strides being made to beat it.

That's the promise Nancy G. Brinker made to her dying sister, Susan G. Komen back in 1982. Since then, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure has used the color pink as its identity. The first Komen Race for the Cure logo - an abstract female runner outlined with a pink ribbon - was used during the mid 1980s through early 1990s. In 1990, the first breast cancer survivor program was launched at the race in Washington, D.C., and survivors wore buttons that were printed in black and white, like the line in the old newspaper riddle.

But they would soon be pink all over. In 1991, pink ribbons were distributed to all breast cancer survivors and participants of the Komen New York City Race for the Cure. Today, we see pink everything - from nail polish and bracelets to lapel pins and athletic wear.

This constant reminder is so very important.

We all know someone who has died from or who has survived breast cancer. A mother. A sister. A daughter. A friend. A neighbor. The disease does not discriminate. Survival rates are difficult to explain because each case must be considered separately.

One thing is sure: Treatment has vastly improved through the years. That and early detection provide the one-two punch that has resulted in more and more survivors.

One of the best preventative measures is awareness. Many gutsy people, including public figures, have stepped forward in recent years to tell their own very personal stories in the effort to raise public awareness and save lives. And they are saving lives. Make it a point to have yourself checked or encourage someone you love to do so. As with so many cancers, early detection can save your life.

And if you sometimes feel you're being blinded by the pink, including today's newspaper, be thankful.

We're helping Nancy Brinker keep her promise.