October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The color pink is all around us in October. We see buttons, ribbons, shirts, you name it. If it can be pink, we have turned it pink. Creating awareness is just the beginning of fighting the disease that affects 1 in 8 women. By raising awareness we have begun to diagnose breast cancer earlier. While this may be increasing the incidents of breast cancer, the decreasing statistics in deaths, particularly in older women, might be attributed to earlier screening, better treatments and increased awareness.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an international health campaign created by several breast cancer charities to not only raise awareness, but to raise funding for research, prevention, diagnosis, treatments and eventually cures of breast cancer. This worldwide yearly campaign that happens in October every year also educates and supports those affected by breast cancer. The key is early and regular screening, testing and more.
It is estimated that breast cancer awareness raises in excess of $6 billion. It’s big business. However, it takes funding to help diagnose, treat and support people affected by breast cancer. Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, but it does affect men as well. New estimates find that 30% of all new cancer diagnoses in women will be breast cancer. Breast cancer affects more black women than white women under 45 years old. Overall, black women are more likely to die of breast cancer. These are unsettling statistics. BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutations are linked to 5-10% of breast cancers. 85% of breast cancers affect women without any family history of breast cancer.
We all seem to know someone who has battled, or continues to battle breast cancer. Raising awareness and increasing screenings can lead to early diagnosis. Early diagnosis is often our best defense. Together, this month we can all help raise awareness of breast cancer. So wear your pink, take notice when buildings light up pink at night and support those around you that have been affected by breast cancer.