History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held in October every year, was created in 1985 to promote screening and prevention of the disease, which affects one in eight women in the United States every year and 2.3 million women worldwide. Known best for its pink theme color, the month features a number of campaigns and programs — conducted by groups ranging from breast cancer advocacy organizations to local community organizations to major retailers — aimed at supporting people diagnosed with breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer educating people about breast cancer risk factors stressing the importance of regular screening, starting at age 40 or an age that’s appropriate for your personal breast cancer risk fundraising for breast cancer research.
Male Breast Cancer
October also brings recognition of Male Breast Cancer. Although far rarer than Breast Cancer in women, men do have a small amount of breast tissue that can susceptible to the disease. About 2,710 American men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2022 with an expected 530 deaths occurring. In 2021, President Joe Biden designated a week of Breast Cancer Awareness Month for Men’s Breast Cancer, a disease that carries a lack of awareness and sigma, creating barriers to detection and treatment.
Risk factors for men and women are similar, including genetic mutations, aging, high estrogen levels, and family history all play a role in an increased risk of developing Breast Cancer. For men, an increased risk can come with hormone therapy for prostate cancer, injury, swelling, or surgery to the testicles, and, like women, heavy drinking or being overweight can be risk factors.
Metistatic Breast Cancer
About 30% of early-stage breast cancers eventually metastasize, meaning cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms of Metastatic Breast Cancer can vary widely depending on the location of the cancer, but signs may include:
While Metastatic Breast Cancer is not curable, it is treatable and many patients are able to treat their cancer for years.
What To Do During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones from Breast Cancer is to raise your awareness, continue to learn, and engage in screenings. In 2022, it is estimated that 43,780 people will die from Breast Cancer. 9% of new cases in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age. Right now, about 170,000 people in the United States are living with metastatic breast cancer.
Find ways to minimize your risk and encourage others to do the same. While two of the biggest risk factors are being a woman and growing older, things we cannot change, there are many lifestyle changes we can make that can lower our risk of Breast Cancer, including not smoking or drinking alcohol and exercising regularly.
We can also learn the proper techniques for self-breast exams and talk to our doctors about regular mammograms. For resources to help you talk about Breast Cancer, find screening and self-exam information, and ways to reduce your risk factors, you can follow this link.
There are many places where you can donate money for research, mammograms, and more. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., also provides HOPE kits to women struggling with Breast Cancer through generous donations. To learn more about HOPE kits, click here. To donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., click here. To learn more about Breast Cancer Resources in New York State, click here.
This information is provided by Breastcancer.org.
Donate to support free resources and programming for people affected by breast cancer.
October 25, 2022