Breast cancer is a condition characterised by the uncontrolled growth of cells within the breast. It stands as the most prevalent cancer among women in India, with rates as high as 25.8 cases per 100,000 women and a mortality rate of 12.7 per 100,000 women.
October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The objective of this month is to educate people about this condition and emphasise the significance of mammograms as the most effective method for breast cancer screening. Throughout this month, a pink theme sets the stage for various campaigns and initiatives around the world. These efforts are made by diverse groups, including breast cancer advocacy organisations and local community groups. Breast Cancer Awareness Month also significantly helps in raising funds for breast cancer research, allowing doctors to provide more accurate treatments.
History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The Breast Cancer Awareness Month was first organised by the American Cancer Society in collaboration with Imperial Chemical Industries as a week-long event. Over time, with increasing recognition and support from people, it evolved into a month-long celebration. The iconic pink ribbon associated with Breast Cancer Awareness Month was introduced in 1992. Eventually, Breast Cancer Awareness Month garnered global recognition, and organisations and individuals across the globe began to observe it.
In the beginning, the primary purpose of celebrating this month mainly focused on raising awareness about the importance of early detection and mammography. Women’s health advocates, healthcare professionals, and community organisations played important roles in these early campaigns. This month-long event has turned into a global movement, bringing individuals closer in the fight against this illness.
Recognise Breast Cancer Symptoms
More than anything else, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about educating oneself on the symptoms of this condition for early recognition. Additionally, having good knowledge of the symptoms can be helpful in spreading awareness about the disease and assisting others in early detection and treatment. Symptoms of breast cancer can vary among patients, but some common ones are listed below:
- A new mass found within the breast or underarm (armpit).
- The skin on the breast appears irritated or shows dimpling.
- An area of the breast becomes thicker or swollen.
- Redness or flakiness observed in the region around the nipple or on the breast.
- Nipple retraction or discomfort in the nipple area.
Here’s What To Do This Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month provides individuals with an opportunity to actively participate in the effort to combat breast cancer. There are several ways in which you can contribute to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
- Educate yourself: Before anything else, it is crucial to understand breast cancer and what it entails. You can conduct research online or consult with a doctor to gain a comprehensive understanding of this illness.
- Get a mammogram: Getting this essential screening is incredibly important. This test aids in the early detection of the condition and facilitates timely treatment.
- Educate others: Spread awareness about breast cancer and how early detection can help prevent the illness from worsening. You can achieve this through social media or by participating in breast cancer awareness events.
- Contribute to fundraising initiatives: Be a part of and contribute to fundraising events and campaigns organised by breast cancer charities. These funds can be very helpful in breast cancer research, support programs, and patient assistance.
- Support patients: Engage in conversations with individuals who are dealing with breast cancer and empathise with their stories. Understand their needs and provide as much support as you can.
- Organise Awareness Events: You can also consider arranging your own awareness events during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which may include fundraisers, educational sessions, community talks, and more
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness about this illness and help millions of women safeguard themselves against the complications of this condition. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2023, pledge to go pink and do your part in raising awareness for this disease.