At a time when we are used to seeing red and yellow leaves falling and orange pumpkins sitting on front porches, it seems we are seeing more pink than any other Fall color this year. That’s because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the U.S. and also internationally. This is the time of year we see pink ribbons, pink T-shirts, pink buttons, and pink bumper stickers – even pink football uniforms – to help remind us of the on-going work to raise funds for the research and prevention of breast cancer. We hope you will join us is supporting this significant cause.
Like us, you’ve probably noticed an intensity the last couple of years in the promotion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), but BCAM is not a new movement. In fact it’s been celebrated for over 25 years! Initiated by service organizations, medical associations, and government agencies in 1984, BCAM has helped to create awareness of breast cancer in the public. It also promotes sharing of information, educates women of the screenings available for diagnosis, and advocates prevention of the disease.
The Good News Is That It’s Working!
Nearly 75% of women over 40 receive regular mammograms, which is helping doctors find breast cancer before it’s had a chance to spread – and fight it. 25 years ago less than 30% were having regular screenings. Breast cancer is now detected earlier than ever before, which means that survival rates are far greater than before BCAM. There are now 2.5 million survivors living in the U.S. These are daughters, sisters, mothers, and grandmothers who now have a chance to enjoy productive lives. Thanks also to an increase of millions of dollars spent on treatment and prevention of breast cancer, many more survivors will enjoy the benefits of “Pink October.”
What Can You Do?
Chances are that you know at least one of these survivors. Most of us have a friend, or family member that was diagnosed with breast cancer. It can be devastating. As a friend or relative you feel like there’s nothing you can do but watch helplessly as the treatments and surgeries take their toll on the person. The sickness, loss of hair, lack of energy, and sometimes depression can make it difficult to stay involved. But thanks to the work of many individuals and organizations, you don’t have to just be a by-stander. There are many ways you can show your support to your loved-one: Talk to them openly and honestly about your feelings, encourage them to have a positive attitude and a hopeful outlook, wear pink to show you care, and donate to an organization that is doing something about the disease.
One of the more prominent organizations working to promote BCAM is the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. Named after her late sister, Komen for the Cure was founded by Nancy Brinker in 1982. This organization has done more to help save lives, empower survivors, and ensure quality care for all than any other organization in the country. Its supporters are tirelessly raising money to help in the research and fight of breast cancer. We applaud their efforts and encourage support of this worthy organization.