National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Celebrating Life With and After Breast Cancer

This October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual event that seeks to raise awareness for breast cancer and raise funds for its treatment and to search for a cure. Breast cancer is currently the second most common type of cancer in women, with about 1 in 8 women born today at risk. Over 520,000 people worldwide die from breast cancer every year. During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, heath organizations and charities around the world take the opportunity to offer information on breast cancer prevention and diagnosis and to raise support for those affected by the disease.

pink_ribbon-breast-cancerNational Breast Cancer Awareness Month was first celebrated in 1985, spearheaded by the American Cancer Society and AstraZeneca, a producer of anti-breast cancer drugs.  Around eight years after National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was established, in 1993, the pink ribbon became its official symbol.

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many organizations – such as the National Football League and the World Wrestling Federation – show their support by incorporating the use of the color pink in their events. Landmarks such as the White House, Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower and the Sydney Opera House often use pink illumination lights as well.

A variety of events, such as walks and runs, are also organized during National Breast Cancer Awareness month. The largest of these is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a series of 5k runs and fitness walks held to raise money for breast cancer research.

While the use of pink and the wearing of the pink ribbon is the most common way that people choose to show support for breast cancer awareness and prevention, many people feel that the best way to really celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to make sure that women are vigilant in the early detection of breast cancer.

Early detection of breast cancer is the best way to ensure that a breast cancer sufferer becomes a breast cancer survivor.

Breast cancer itself doesn’t necessarily kill sufferers; it only becomes potentially lethal when the cancer spreads to other vital organs. An average of 80 percent of women screened for breast cancer are diagnosed in the early stages – this means that there is a good chance that they can be treated and go on to become breast cancer survivors.

One of the best ways to check on breast help is regular mammograms. A mammogram can detect breast cancer early, allowing treatment to begin early –preventing the cancer from spreading and increasing the chances for survival. A mammogram uses low level x-rays to examine the breasts and look for masses or lumps. The entire process only takes around 20 minutes.

Aside from mammograms, it is also a good idea for women to examine their own breasts and be familiar with how they look and feel. If a woman detects a change in the size or shape of their breasts, feel pain or notice discharges, it would be best to seek help from a health professional. Other warning signs would be thicknesses, swellings or lumps, irritation or dimpling of the skin or redness and flaky skin.

Breast cancer is an unpleasant reality that many face, but it is not something people have to be helpless against. Support National Breast Cancer Month by encouraging awareness about breast cancer and go beyond wearing the pink ribbon by looking for fund raising and information dissemination campaigns to join in your area.

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