Since COVID has negatively impacted a majority of 2020, we are all looking forward to the start of the holiday season. While October marks the beginning of these festivities, it is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time for everyone to encourage advocacy for female health and increase women’s accessibility to healthcare services. With invasive breast cancer estimated to affect almost 300,000 women just this year, we wanted to share some educational and informational resources that are aimed to inspire discussion, stimulate interest as well as contribute to an important cause.

The History Of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Founded in October of 1985 by the American Cancer Society and pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries, this national health campaign was popularized in America with the help of former first lady and breast cancer survivor, Betty Ford. While the main goal was initially to develop recognition for the disease itself, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month became an opportunity to promote early screenings, further advance the use of mammograms as well as familiarize women of all ages with the risks, warning signs and early symptoms of breast cancer. Now, every year during the month of October, females are empowered to motivate one another to pursue happy, healthy lifestyles in addition to supporting those who have been affected by the disease by sharing their stories.

How To Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Whether it be donating to medical facilities that provide easy access treatments, facilitating educational awareness within rural communities, virtually volunteering or simply wearing the symbolic pink ribbon, there are plenty of ways to celebrate this significant health initiative for women across all of the United States. Check out these resources for more information regarding how you can take action to positively influence others before, during and even after the month of October.

Who Is At Risk Of Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer typically affects women, most commonly those above the age of 50, but it also does pose a minimal threat to some males. Despite the fact that men only make up less than 1% of diagnoses, it is still important to be aware of the risk since most men and their healthcare providers do not usually think to look for warning signs as much as they proactively do for women. In fact, an estimated 20% of men diagnosed are expected to die from breast cancer in 2020, proving that the lack of acknowledgement and preparedness for male cases could possibly lead to more fatalities and increased susceptibility for anyone misinformed about the severity of this disease.

Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer

The early warning signs of breast cancer are the same for both men and women, including: 

  • Breast pain or tenderness
  • Discharge from nipple (sometimes bloody)
  • Retraction of nipple
  • Dimpling of skin on chest
  • Lump or swelling on breast area

You can learn even more about these preliminary indicators by clicking here. We advise contacting your healthcare professional immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms. Also, be sure to read about CDC’s early detection program that helps save the time, money and lives of underpaid, uninsured women. 

The Future Of Breast Cancer Awareness

Over the course of four years (2013-2017), the overall death rate of breast cancer patients has decreased by 1.3%. While the pandemic may affect 2020’s statistics, this decrease is believed to be the result of improved treatment availability, advanced medical technology as well as enhanced preventative measures. However, until a cure is found, it is knowledge that best protects us from diseases we can only continue to research and study but most importantly, help foster support for awareness efforts. 

Helpful Resources: