Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2019: We are going Pink for October

Breast cancer awareness month in 2019 is October, and it starts from October 1st till the last day of the month of October.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), popularly referred to in America as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), is a yearly international health campaign majorly organized by recognized breast cancer charities in every October to increase awareness of breast cancer and to help raise funds for research so as to know its cause, how to prevent it, as well as diagnosis, treatment and cure.

It is a worldwide annual campaign taking place in October, involving thousands of organisations, to highlight the importance of breast awareness, education and research.

Why there is need for breast cancer awareness and sensitization

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.

With an average lifetime risk of developing breast cancer at 12%. There are about 300,000 cases diagnosed each year, with about 15% of those (40,000 people) dying from the disease each year.

A clearer way of looking at it and why its so serious is that 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer, and 1 woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2 minutes. Additionally and contrary to what most people believe, breast cancer doesn’t just end with the female folks, infact, men can develop breast cancer as well (although its rare).

Always keep in mind that screening for breast cancer begins at 40 years old (for average risk women) with annual mammograms, and that catching breast cancer early can save your life.

Why go pink for october?

Every October, the color pink shows up in full force. From lapel pins to NFL uniforms, people integrate pink into their wardrobes to support breast cancer awareness month. As an awareness campaign, it’s incredibly successful. But awareness is just the first step. From awareness, public health education and advances in research are possible.

Lydia Komarnicky, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and a member of the board of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, says wearing pink “reminds people of the importance of the month of October and to get a mammogram if you have forgotten. More importantly I think the pink shirt, ribbon, hat, or merchandise of your choice honors those who have successfully beaten the disease, those who are currently battling the disease, and also reminds us of those that have succumbed to the disease.”

In addition to shining a light on the importance of annual screenings, breast cancer awareness month also generates funding for breast cancer research.

Last year, two Drexel University College of Medicine researchers received grants through the statewide Refunds for Breast Cancer Research campaign. Mauricio Reginato, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, was recognized for his research in triple negative breast cancer and targeted treatment. Alessandro Fatatis, MD, PhD, professor in the Departments of Pharmacology & Physiology and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, received his grant for his research in cancer development.

History Behind the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness

Charlotte Hayey, who had battled breast cancer, introduced the concept of a peach-colored breast cancer awareness ribbon. In the early 1990s, the 68-year-old Haley began making peach ribbons by hand in her home. Her daughter, sister and grandmother had breast cancer. She distributed thousands of ribbons at supermarkets with cards that read: “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”

As the word spread, executives from Estée Lauder and Self Magazine asked Haley for permission to use her ribbon. Haley refused saying the companies were too commercial. But “Self” really wanted to have her ribbon.

The magazine consulted its lawyers and was advised to come up with another color. It chose pink, a color that focus groups say is soothing, comforting and healing — a far cry from what breast cancer really is. Soon Charlotte Haley’s grassroots peach ribbon was history, and her original idea became the pink ribbon that has come to be known as the worldwide symbol for breast cancer.

The breast cancer movement is much bigger than October. And it isn’t only about finding a cure or getting a mammogram or raising money. It’s about prevention and education and guaranteed treatment for everyone – women and men, rich or poor.