October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease and also to raise funds for research, prevention, treatment and cure. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985 to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against the disease.
The pink ribbon is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. It was first used in connection with breast cancer awareness in 1991 when the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors. The pink ribbon was adopted as the official symbol the next year, in 1992.
Here are some facts about breast cancer and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
- Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point.
- Early screening is vital because 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.
- A variety of events around the world are organized in October, including walks and runs, and the pink illumination of landmark buildings. The National Football League promotes breast cancer awareness by incorporating pink on and off the field.
- Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease.
- Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.
- Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.