Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month started in 1985 as a collaboration between the “American Academy of Family Physicians, AstraZeneca Healthcare Foundation, CancerCare, Inc., and a variety of other sponsors to raise awareness and gain funding for research for a cure.”

The pink ribbon campaign associated with Breast Cancer Awareness was created in 1992 by Evelyn Lauder and her friend Alexandra Penney. Lauder along with her husband and friend Dr. Larry Norton started The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). The BCRF spends 90 cents of every dollar towards breast cancer research and awareness programs.

Breast Cancer Awareness month has grown from a small grass roots effort by Evelyn Lauder and her husband who financed the little pink bows handed out to women “at department store makeup counters to remind them about breast examinations” into a month long campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer. The movement gives encouragement to those fighting the disease, allows survivors to share their stories and creates a support network for anyone whose lives have been affected by breast cancer.

Today the pink ribbon campaign has grown into a month of activities and fundraising efforts to raise money for breast cancer research and continue to shine a spotlight on a disease that will affect 1 in 8 women in their lifetime and 1% of men.

A staggering “$6 billion is raised every year in the name of breast cancer,” but unfortunately not all the donations raised are actually going toward breast cancer research. If you want to donate to this cause or others it is important that you make sure the organization you donate to is using at least 60 percent of the donations received for actual services, such as funding research, and not administrative or fundraising costs

Today there are more than 3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. While age, genetics and breast density are the top three causes of breast cancer. Other causes of breast cancer can include obesity, alcohol consumption and hormone treatments. Knowing your risk factors can be the first step to early detection.

With all the attention on screenings, mammography and fundraising the message of prevention can sometimes get lost in a flurry of marketing campaigns. And while October may be the time to think pink, maybe it should also be a month that both women and men can use to create health goals and make lifestyle changes that can support a healthy mind, body and spirit.

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