Every October, special emphasis is given to the awareness of breast cancer. This movement is intended to inform people of the risks of breast cancer as well as what can be done to prevent and/or address it. Several organizations work to promote breast cancer awareness to both educate the public and provide support to the diagnosed.

History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was officially founded in 1985. It began as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries. Today, it involves many charities that all work together to support the same goal. In 1993, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation was founded by Evelyn Lauder and the pink ribbon was officially adopted as the symbol for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In addition to the ribbon, the color pink is also used heavily during this time and is often used by businesses, organizations, sports teams, and more to show support.

Importance of Early Detection 

Breast cancer is progressive and this is why early detection is so important. If breast cancer is detected in the early stages, an individual’s likelihood of a cure and survival. In the later stages, this chance drops significantly, especially if the breast cancer has already reached the lymph nodes. Many women do not know the signs of breast cancer and aren’t aware there is a problem until it’s too late. Women need to understand their risks as well as the early signs, so they can catch breast cancer early on.

Know Your Risk 

Several factors put people at risk. While breast cancer is found in men, it is far more common in women, and being female significantly increases your risk. Women are also at risk as they age. Reproductive history also plays a role. Starting your period before age 12 and reaching menopause after age 55 means your body is exposed to hormones longer and this increases your risk. You also are at risk if there is a history of breast cancer in your family as well as a history of genetic mutations that put people at risk. While there are a lot of risks you have no control over, there are some that you do. Losing weight, exercising more often, reducing your exposure to hormones (such as through medications), and reducing your alcohol intake can all reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.

Get Screened

If you’re worried about breast cancer, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get screened. Screenings allow you to check for the signs of breast cancer. This allows you to detect it early and begin addressing it before it gets worse. For women aged 40 and older, it’s recommended to receive a mammogram once everyone to two years. For women aged 30-39, it’s recommended that you speak with your doctor about your potential risk. One of the primary goals of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to promote mammograms and the importance of getting screened.

Support Others 

During the month of October, you can show your support for those who are going through breast cancer. Many charities and other organizations sponsor events and activities to help boost awareness and show support. Examples might include marathons to promote awareness. You can also help to spread information about breast cancer and help improve the population’s education about it. If you know someone going through breast cancer, ask them what help they need. You can drive them to appointments, visit with them, and even make care packages for them. Donating your time, money, and helpful items is also a great way to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Spreading awareness is an important step in reducing the number of women who experience breast cancer. They need to be aware of the risks and warning signs of breast cancer, so they can detect it early on. Participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month during this October and help spread information and support.

Getting screened early can help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Click here to find a provider so you can get screened.