October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October has been the Breast Cancer Awareness Month since 1985. Also known as Pinktober because of the colour that was chosen to promote this critical campaign. According to the World Health Organization, pink October “helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease.”

Why pink?

The American Charlotte Haley decided to distribute some cards with a salmon-coloured folded ribbon attached, asking people to wear the ribbon to draw the attention of the National Cancer Institute after her mother, sister and daughter developed breast cancer. Back then, the NCI  was using only 5 per cent of its annual budget for cancer prevention.

In 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation gave participants of the New York City race for breast cancer survivors pink ribbons and visors.

While in 1993, Estée Lauder launched The Breast Cancer Research Foundation with the pink ribbon as a symbol.

Why is breast cancer awareness so important?

We know breast cancer is a sensitive subject. Most women prefer not to talk about it and don’t like to be reminded that one out of eight women will have the disease at some point in their lives. We get it. We don’t like it either. But in fact, Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and comes second only to lung cancer as the primary cause of women’s death.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Month has had a significant role in educating women about the importance of early detection and increasing awareness. Thanks to regular exams and improved treatment, from the last 30 years, the risk of dying of this disease dropped almost 40%. It means the campaign helped avoid 300.000 breast cancer deaths in that period!

What can you do about it?

Early detection of cancer is fundamental for successful control of the disease. So it is crucial that women self-examine themselves every month and have regular mammograms and ultrasounds as requested by their doctors. Check here how to do a breast self-exam.

If you have a close family member who’s had breast cancer, you’re part of the higher-risk group and must have more frequent screening tests.

We know everybody hates having their breasts squeezed like pancakes during a mammogram, but it is very important you do it. Take a deep breath, think of a happy place, and it will be over before you know it!

Prevention is the key to beat the statistics

Besides early detection, there are a few changes that any woman can make to lower the risk of developing breast cancer. So why don’t take advantage of Pink October to make a resolution to eat healthier, stop smoking, avoid excessive weight and excessive alcohol, exercise and check your breasts regularly? And since life should be fun too, remember you have during an entire month an excellent excuse to wear as much girly pink as you’d like!

Cheers,

C.S.

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