Breast Cancer Awareness Month is October. People around the globe honor this annual international health campaign known as both Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and National Brest Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). This October is the first BCAM we are spending without my mother-in-law, a long-term breast cancer sufferer.
What is the Purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
The purpose of BCAM is to increase awareness about the disease and raise essential funds to fuel research regarding the cause, prevention and cure of cancer. During this October campaign, info and support are offered to those affected by breast cancer. BCAM also remind women to check their breasts regularly and schedule regular mammograms for early detection.
What is the History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
In 1985, the manufacturer of breast cancer drugs Tamoxifen and Arimidex, AstraZeneca, founded BCAM. The goal was to promote mammography as a powerful weapon in the war against breast cancer.
In 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation gave out pink ribbons to participants in the NYC race for breast cancer survivors. By 1993, Evelyn Lauder (senior corporate VP of the Estee Lauder Companies) founded The Brest Cancer Research Foundation and established the Pink Ribbon as its symbol.
What Does Breast Cancer Awareness Month Mean to Me?
In April, we lost my mother-in-law to breast cancer and lymphoma. She died on Good Friday, which was also her birthday. I remember when I first got together with my husband in the early 1990s. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, had treatment and ultimately went into remission. When the cancer returned a few years later, we were devastated.
For over 15 years, my mother-in-law fought hard and we prayed with her. Losing her was difficult even though we presumably had years to prepare for it.
Meanwhile, two of my friends are battling breast cancer. Both women are in their 30s and 40s, proving it strikes females of all ages and backgrounds. One recently went into remission and we celebrated. The other is very close.
What Can You Do For Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Early detection is crucial. Learn how to check your breasts for lumps and inconsistencies and do it at least monthly. Click here to watch a video from Dr. Chris Steele of the Family GP showing the proper way to check your breasts.
Schedule a mammogram. Consult with your family physician or gynecologist to find out if it is time to get your first mammogram based on family and personal history. To find out more about mammograms, visit the National Cancer Institute.
Finally, spread the word about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Keep your friends and family informed and encourage them to check their breasts and schedule mammograms. Donate time or money to the breast cancer cause. If we all work together, we can make it better.