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October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

30-Second-Summary
  • October is the month of raising awareness about breast cancer.
  • This campaign started in 1985 when the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries partnered for the cause.
  • The awareness drive has since been supported and promoted by various prominent figures and medical organizations.
  • The idea behind the awareness month is to spread information regarding breast cancer treatments and raise funds for further research and needy patients.
  • While breast cancer affects millions of women globally, the latest treatments promise a much higher recovery rate.

Introduction

Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer that affects women globally. It can often be fatal if not detected and treated in its initial stages.

Early diagnosis is crucial here, and spreading awareness about the disease is the best way to encourage women to go for regular screenings.

Among all the efforts to encourage awareness, the observation of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month stands out.

Various awareness drives and fund-raising initiatives happen worldwide to support patients and spread knowledge about the disease.

A small yet significant way to contribute to this initiative is to dissipate information about it. So, here is everything you need to know about the awareness month and the disease.

Why Is October Observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month? What’s The Historical Significance?

breast cancer awareness month
October was first observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985 when the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries partnered for the cause. It was supported by former First Lady Betty Ford, who is a survivor of Breast cancer herself.

In its initial years, the month was about spreading awareness around the disease among women to encourage screenings and prompt treatment.

As the movement grew internationally, more organizations, survivors, and individuals chimed in to run fund-raising campaigns for patients needing breast cancer treatments.

In the present day, various organizations, NGOs, and hospitals hold awareness and free breast cancer screening camps during the month.

The color of the month is pink, and many individuals wear pink ribbons throughout October to show their support for the initiative.

In terms of awareness drives, women are presented with the latest facts about breast cancer symptoms and treatments. They also get to learn proper self-examination techniques for the early detection of breast cancer.

Hence, the campaigns that run this month play a significant role in bringing down the mortality rates associated with the disease. With every passing year, the initiative grows stronger, helping more women around the world.

5 Advances in Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatments That You Should Be Aware Of

1. Treatment Strategies

Breast cancer treatments continue to evolve and get more effective as research in this field continues.

In the past few years, several treatment strategies have emerged that encourage more effective recovery from breast cancer.

HER2 antibody therapy is a prominent approach that targets and destroys the HER2 proteins that promote cancer cell growth.

Other emerging treatments include immunotherapy and Tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

2. Artificial Intelligence

According to studies, artificial intelligence can play a prominent role in the early diagnosis and tracking of breast cancer.

AI-based software can analyze medical images to raise flags indicating the early signs of cancer.

Moreover, AI can precisely detect tumor boundaries, leading to complete removal of cancer cells and better surgical success.

Large-scale adoption of this technology might happen in the future because of the quick and efficient results.

Breast Self Examination

3. Self-Examination Mobile Apps

While women above the age of 40 are more prone to developing breast cancer symptoms, self-examination is important for younger women too.

Even if you are not going in for mammograms because of your age, you can self-examine your breasts at home to detect lumps and growths.

Self-examination mobile apps help women perform self-exams more precisely and offer all the information and assistance they need.

Such an app is useful for women who are not familiar with the self-exam techniques or are uncomfortable with the whole process.

4. Mobile Mammography Programs

Mobile Mammography Programs are outreach programs for women who are hesitant or incapable to visit a hospital for a mammogram.

They use mobile vans that carry state-of-the-art mammography systems within. These vans travel to various remote neighborhoods and encourage otherwise hesitant women to get their screening done right then and there.

According[1] to studies, these mobile mammography programs reach a different demographic of women compared to those who visit cancer centers. They encourage better racial and marital diversity in the subjects when it comes to breast cancer screening.

5. Less Extensive Surgery

The latest developments in breast cancer treatments suggest that less extensive surgery is a viable option during early-stage cancer.

In the first stage, only the sentinel nodes, which are the first to be affected by cancer, are removed and analyzed.

If the results are favorable, there may not be a need for further node removal in the future. This is a promising update that encourages early screening and diagnosis.

9 Quick Facts About Breast Cancer That Everyone Needs to Know

Forms of breast cancer
This breast cancer awareness month, here are 9 facts that you should know about the disease:

  • According to the WHO, breast cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in women across the globe.
  • On average, one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2 minutes in the United States.
  • Breast cancer can be non-invasive (confined to the ducts in the breast tissue) or invasive (spreading through the fatty and connective breast tissues to other body parts).
  • If breast cancer is detected in the localized stage, the chances of survival are much higher.
  • A family history of breast cancer increases the disease risk for you. So, getting regular checkups is crucial.
  • A previous history of breast cancer, hormonal imbalances, or prolonged exposure to x-rays could be risk factors for the disease.
  • Contrary to common knowledge, men can develop breast cancer too, even though it is quite rare.
  • Lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking and alcohol and exercising daily, can reduce breast cancer risk or encourage faster recovery.
  • Physical breast examination before the age of 40 and regular mammograms afterward lead to the early detection of breast cancer symptoms. They can drastically improve the chances of a full recovery.

Conclusion

Breast Cancer Awareness month has a global significance. Not only does it spread information about the disease, but it also raises funds for screening and treatment.

While breast cancer continues to affect millions of women around the globe, this awareness initiative is the need of the hour.

Thanks to the various research bodies and organizations in many countries, we are continuously developing better screening and treatment strategies.

The use of artificial intelligence and mobile applications further encourages the early diagnosis of breast cancer symptoms.

These technologies significantly improve the chances of recovery. Further, initiatives like mobile mammography programs encourage all women to get screened safely and conveniently.

Spreading awareness about breast cancer is not just the responsibility of medical bodies but each individual.

So, this October, encourage the women in your family and social circle to get screened or install self-examination apps. If each one of us starts to promote breast cancer screening, we can save many lives together!

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