October can feel different for each of us - some wear pink to celebrate, some quietly observe the month, some feel grief, and some feel unseen or misunderstood. Here’s what you need to know about Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held in October every year, aims to promote screening and prevention of the disease, which affects one in eight women in the United States every year and 2.3 million women worldwide. Known best for its pink theme color, the month features a number of campaigns and programs - conducted by groups ranging from breast cancer advocacy organizations to local community organizations to major retailers - aimed at:
The History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The event began in 1985 as a week-long awareness campaign by the American Cancer Society, in partnership with Imperial Chemical Industries. It eventually extended to a monthlong event. In 1992, the pink ribbon came into play.
The original use of ribbons for specific causes dates back to 1979, when "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" inspired Penney Laingen, whose husband was a prisoner of war, to display yellow ribbons as a symbol of hope.
The breast cancer awareness ribbon almost wasn't pink; a grassroots effort by Charlotte Haley began with peach-colored loops. At the same time, Alexandra Penney, Self magazine's Editor-in-Chief, partnered with Evelyn Lauder, Estée Lauder's Senior Corporate Vice President and a breast cancer survivor, to distribute pink ribbons after the magazine’s second annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue.
Because of the incredible reach of the magazine and Estée Lauder brand, pink triumphed over peach, and is now used by breast cancer organizations around the world.
Breast Cancer Awareness: Statistics
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Just being a woman and growing older are the two biggest risk factors for breast cancer. Those factors are difficult to change, but you can change other risk factors, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and not exercising regularly.
Breast Cancer Screening
Regular breast self-exams, an annual exam by your doctor, and yearly mammograms are important tools in breast cancer detection — especially early detection, when cancers may be more treatable.
Things To Do This Breast Cancer Awareness Month