The purpose of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to make people all over the world more knowledgeable about this disease. In conjunction, government agencies, medical societies, and nonprofit organizations work with survivors to raise money to fund research, educate women about the importance of getting regular mammograms, as well as detail methods of prevention and early detection.
How Did National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Originate?
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month dates back to October 1985. This is when the first organized movement to bring attention to the dangers of breast cancer occurred in the United States. Since then, campaigns to educate the public about this disease have continued to thrive and multiply.
Can You Give Me Some Statistics About Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer that affects women. As of 2008, over 1.3 million new cases were reported worldwide and 458,000 deaths also contributed to this disease on a global scale. Currently, the region with the highest rate of breast cancer-related cases is North America.
What’s the Significance of the Pink Ribbon?
A pink ribbon is the international symbol of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In October 1992, SELF Magazine created the concept of using a pink ribbon to symbolize the importance of breast cancer awareness. SELF editor Alexandra Penney then teamed up with the cosmetics company, Estée Lauder, and their then vice president, Evelyn H. Lauder. As a result, 1.5 million pink ribbons were distributed at Estée Lauder's cosmetics counters all over the world. Lauder, who is also a breast cancer survivor, formed the Breast Cancer Research Foundation which has raised more than $325 million for cancer research.
How Can I Show My Support During Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
- Wear a pink ribbon. The easiest way to show your support is by wearing a pink ribbon like the one featured above, which is the symbol for breast cancer support.
- Donate. Another easy way to show your support is by donating to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. By donating you'll be able to provide educational resources for those who were diagnosed, free mammograms & other services patients may be unable to afford, and fund patient navigation programs that guide patients through and around the barriers of cost, fear, and misinformation of being screened for or diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Walk in or volunteer at an event. There are several walks and 5Ks that support breast cancer awareness, including the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Both events take place annually in various cities throughout the U.S.
- Take preventive measures. Take preventive measures such as administering a breast examination on yourself and looking out for some of the warning signs. In addition, women who are 40 years or older should schedule an annual mammogram in order to help early detection.
Visit the American Cancer Society's website for more information about breast cancer or National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.