The History of the Pink Ribbon
With the start of October and autumn comes leaves of crimson and gold, pumpkin spiced everything, and pink ribbons. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign designed to increase awareness about the disease, and to encourage early detection plans along with raising funds for cancer research and causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately….. the cure. The aim of Breast Cancer Awareness Month when it was founded in 1985 was to promote ways to detect breast cancer and to offer support to those who are affected by it; something the month still stands by. The pink ribbon you see which represents breast cancer awareness now, was used a few times in association with breast cancer awareness before officially being established in 1993, when Evelyn Lauder, VP of Estee Lauder; founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and dubbed the pink ribbon as its official symbol.
Learn Your Stats
So, why is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so important? Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women: 1 in 8 women in the US (about 12% of the population) will develop breast cancer in her lifetime with about 246,660 new cases expected to be diagnosed at the end of 2016. Although women over the age of 45 are at a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer, young women can also get it. Men can also develop breast cancer even though it is much less likely (they have about 1 in 1,000 lifetime chance.) These statistics aren’t meant to scare anyone, but they should grab your attention. It is likely that everyone, whether man or woman, will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime, either directly or indirectly by someone they know who are fighting it. It is unfortunately an extremely prevalent disease, making that one of the reasons why Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all of the positive effects this campaign has had and continues to have, are so vital and important to take part in.
Today, there are hundreds if not thousands of events and activities organized during the month of October and year round, all over the world to raise money for breast cancer research, to provide help and resources for those fighting the disease, and to increase support for everyone affected. From hundreds of local organized fundraising walks and runs, to the National Football League’s incorporation of pink into their uniforms to raise awareness of Breast Cancer, it seems that each year more people are taking part in this important cause. If you would like to organize or take part in a fundraiser for breast cancer, The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NationalBreastCancer.org) has great resources and steps to get started! The Breast Cancer Fundraiser (TheBreastCancerFundraiser.org) is also a great resource for fundraising events and volunteer opportunities, as is Susan G. Komen at Komen.org. Each of these organizations offer many activities and ways to get involved. A quick Google search can also provide you with many more local events you can take part in to help find a cure!
Know Your Lemons
Breast cancer that is detected early can be treated much easier and with higher success rates, so it is extremely important to know your body and be proactive in making sure you’re healthy. WorldWideBreastCancer.com has a great page on ‘knowing your lemons’ and how to check to be sure your “fruits are ripe” and healthy, and the steps that you and your doctor can take if you think something isn’t quite right. Never dismiss something that seems off to you; make an appointment right away with your doctor just to be sure that nothing is going on. Most of the time lumps or bumps you find are nothing dangerous, but it’s much safer not to take the risk and to visit your doctor for a quick check up.
Fortunately, a positive diagnosis is not a death sentence. Breast cancer can be treated. The amount of support and assistance available for family, friends, and those fighting the disease is growing each year. It’s amazing to see all of the love, community support, and scientific progress that Breast Cancer Awareness Month has continued to bring to people all over the world. If you want to learn more about ways to be involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or about any of the topics covered in this article, be sure to check out the sites listed below.
Sources & Additional Information