October is known for a flurry of colors: the reds and yellows of fall leaves, Halloween’s black and orange. You can count pink among them.
The month celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness, bringing to light the most common cancer in women worldwide.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease.
There are about 1.38 million new cases and 458 000 deaths from breast cancer each year (IARC Globocan, 2008). Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries. In low- and middle-income countries the incidence has been rising up steadily in the last years due to increase in life expectancy, increase urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles.
Currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control. When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured. If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option. In such cases, palliative care to relief the suffering of patients and their families is needed.
The majority of deaths (269 000) occur in low- and middle-income countries, where most women with breast cancer are diagnosed in late stages due mainly to lack of awareness on early detection and barriers to health services. Maria’s story (see below) illustrates this dramatic situation common to thousands of women in resource constrained settings. A situation that can be reverted if adequate public health programmes are put in place.
This annual campaign was created to increase awareness of the disease. 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. There has been a lot of progress regarding this subject throughout the years, but we still have a long way to go and the most important thing to keep in mind is that we all can help!
Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point in their lives.
The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it is found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early, when it’s easier to treat.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.
How can World Breast Cancer Awareness Month make a difference?
We can use this opportunity to spread the word about steps women can take to detect breast cancer early.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Ask doctors and nurses to speak to women about the importance of getting screened for breast cancer.
- Encourage women ages 40 to 49 to talk with their doctors about when to start getting mammograms.
- Organize an event to talk with women ages 50 to 74 in your community about getting mammograms every 2 years.
How can I help spread the word?
We’ve made it easier for you to raise awareness about breast cancer. This toolkit is full of ideas to help you take action today. For example:
- Add information about breast cancer screening to your company’s newsletters, email marketing strategies and advertising adds.
- Tweet about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
- Place a link to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Website on your Facebook profile.
During the World Breast Cancer Awareness Month (WBCAM), a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations and government agencies work together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease and provide greater access to medical services and facilities.
Even the NFL tries to reach for female fans through breast cancer awareness
The NFL’s annual breast cancer awareness campaign, always in October, has long been the league’s most substantial plan to appeal to women.
Stadiums will be awash in pink starting Thursday, October 2nd, when the Minnesota Vikings visit the Green Bay Packers.
Nevertheless, with the NFL under attack over its handling of players accused of domestic violence, its efforts to raise awareness toward breast cancer could fall flat; after all, the off-the-field trouble led Worldwide companies such as Procter and Gamble to remove its sponsorship of the event.
What about Mérida?
Here in Yucatán, Dr. Edgardo Menendez Jesús Martínez, director of the Department of Radiology Mammography Center “Doctor Cirilo J. Montes de Oca”, stated that all the local female population above 29 years of age is at risk of breast cancer.
Michelle Byrne John de Rodríguez, president of the civic association known as “Octubre, mes de la lucha contra el cáncer de mama” (October, Month against Breast Cancer), led the presentation, and announced that discount certificates for mammograms will be distributed during the months of October and November, to be used in different local hospitals and clinics.
She said that: “breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality among women in the Yucatan“.
Finally Dr. Martinez Menendez said that this message should be reinforced throughout the year; he declared that the “Breast self-exam” should be done periodically and concluded that any changes detected should be cause for immediate medical consultation.
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