World Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), observed annually in October, seeks to raise awareness and encourage early detection and prevention of breast cancer. It may also be a time for reflection, honoring the deceased, and celebrating the lives still lived for individuals who have been impacted by or survived breast cancer.
In the United States, major breast cancer charities organize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) every October as a global health initiative to raise funds for researching the cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of the disease. The American government has declared the 13th of October as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
The American Cancer Society, which produces a number of anti-breast cancer medications, partnered with Imperial Chemical Industries’ pharmaceutical business to create NBCAM in 1985. Imperial Chemical Industries is now a part of AstraZeneca. Promoting mammography as the most powerful tool in the war against breast cancer has been the mission of the NBCAM from the beginning.
Importance of Breast cancer awareness month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is crucial because it raises public awareness of the condition.
Campaigns for Breast Cancer Awareness Month help by educating people about the warning signs and symptoms of the disease. Additionally, they provide information on preventative measures, such as how to do a self-exam, where to find the right screening, and the value of routine mammograms.
Since then, October has often been referred to as the “pink month” . Moreover, the Pink Ribbon represents courage in the battle against breast cancer, hope for the future, and the generosity of both individuals and groups bravely fighting the illness.
For people affected by breast cancer, the month also spotlights fresh, efficient procedures and treatments, including some that may not otherwise be well-known or that are still in the development stage. Additionally, it serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about these advancements.
World Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2023 Theme
The theme for 2023 is “Keeping Her in the Picture,” urging everyone to prioritize the health and happiness of the important women in their lives. This initiative encourages everyone, regardless of gender, to actively engage and encourage their loved ones — like wives, mothers, sisters, and close friends — to regularly conduct self-checks for breast health and undergo routine mammogram screenings to detect potential issues early on.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Living beyond Breast Cancer highlights all the ways that collaboration helps us advance, as we work continuously throughout the year to support those affected by breast cancer.
Signs of Breast Cancer
The initial signs of breast cancer may manifest as a lump in the breast, discomfort in the breast or armpit, or nipple discharge. However, even in the absence of these symptoms, it is advisable to consult a doctor for reassurance. Typically, a doctor will conduct a manual examination and schedule a mammogram, a painless procedure lasting around ten minutes.
If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t worry too much. Things like pain, a lump, or other changes in your breast can sometimes be harmless, like a cyst. However, it is always good to seek confirmation.
In the event that a mammogram reveals a lump, your doctor will recommend a biopsy. This procedure determines whether the lump is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). So, if the doctor detects cancer, there is still no reason to panic. Early detection saves lives. Your doctor can remove the lump through a simple surgical procedure, but will then discuss further treatment options with you.
Is breast cancer likely to affect your fertility?
According to studies, almost half of young breast cancer patients want to start a family when their treatment is through. But some breast cancer therapies, including specific kinds of chemotherapy, can lead to infertility.
For instance, chemotherapy for breast cancer may harm the ovaries, which might occasionally result in instantaneous or delayed infertility. Nevertheless, a lot of women may conceive following therapy.
The best method for maintaining fertility right now is in vitro fertilization (IVF). You take hormones to stimulate egg production in your ovaries. The eggs are removed by a doctor, who then fertilises them in a lab using sperm. Thus, an embryo is produced.
Tips for preventing Breast Cancer
The best approach for a better outcome with cancer is early identification and treatment. However, researchers are currently conducting studies on preventive measures. Among them are:
- Exercises that are aerobic can help lower the risk.
- Reduced dietary fats
- Increased consumption of cereals, especially those high in fiber
- Giving up smoking and alcohol
World Breast cancer awareness campaigns involve many people. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an excellent way to generate interest among people in providing support and amplifying the voices of patients and survivors. We can all contribute to bringing attention to the significance of breast cancer education, prevention and financing.