Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
1 Oct 2023
9 mins
Table Of Content
Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    "In the sea of life's colors, October paints itself pink,

    A month of hope and courage, it's time to truly think.

    Breast cancer; our focus, as awareness takes its flight,

    Let's stand together, shining in the pink October light."

    October is like a pink canvas, and we are here to paint it with purpose. It is a month when we join hands to talk about breast cancer. Let's spread the word, create awareness, and show support because every small effort can make a big difference.



    In October, the world takes on a pink hue as breast cancer awareness month begins to focus on screening and preventing breast cancer. This month holds immense significance due to the alarming statistics: one in eight women in the United States, one in 29 women in India, and 2.3 million women globally are affected by breast cancer.

    Led by advocacy groups and retailers, it offers vital support, especially for those with metastatic breast cancer. The focus remains on education about risk factors and stressing the importance of regular screenings, often for women starting at the age of 40. Moreover, it serves as a fundraising period to eradicate the threat of breast cancer in women's lives.



    The roots of breast cancer awareness month can be traced back to 1985 when it commenced as a one-week awareness campaign by the American Cancer Society in collaboration with Imperial Chemical Industries, later becoming part of AstraZeneca. Over the years, it transformed into a month-long event. 

    Additionally, Betty Ford, the wife of former President of the United States Gerald Ford, played a significant role. Her impactful advocacy, driven by her personal experience following a mastectomy due to breast cancer, emphasized the importance of early detection and screening, making her a pivotal voice in the campaign's history.

    The Pink Ribbon


    In 1992, the pink ribbon was used to symbolize breast cancer awareness. A breast cancer survivor, Charlotte Haley, made peach-colored ribbons to raise awareness about cancer prevention. She distributed cards urging people to wear the ribbons and raise funding for prevention. Her idea caught the attention of Alexandra Penney, editor-in-chief of Self magazine, who was working on Self magazine's 1992 National Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue. She saw the initiative to adopt Haley's idea by working with her, but Haley refused their offer because she thought it was too commercial. Later, Self magazine and other organizations chose pink ribbons to symbolize breast cancer awareness due to legal issues with Haley's peach ribbons.

    Statistical Facts


    Discovering The Red Flags: Exploring the Factors That Increase The Risk of Breast Cancer 

    • Gender: Women in India face significant risk due to hormonal influences, with 1 in 29 women at risk during their lifetime.
    • Age: Around two-thirds of invasive breast cancer cases occur in women aged 55 and older.
    • Family History: Having a first-degree female relative diagnosed with breast cancer doubles your risk.
    • Genetics: Between 5% to 10% of breast cancers are inherited caused by abnormal genes from parents.
    • Radiation Exposure: Chest or facial radiation before 30 elevates the risk.
    • Race/Ethnicity: White women have a slightly higher risk, but Black women are prone to aggressive breast cancer at a younger age.
    • Weight: Being overweight raises initial and recurrent breast cancer risk.
    • Pregnancy & Breastfeeding: Delaying full-term pregnancy increases the risk while breastfeeding for over a year reduces it.
    • Menstrual History: Starting menstruation before 12 or experiencing menopause after 55 heightens risk.
    • HRT Usage: Certain hormone replacement therapies may increase breast cancer risk. Know more about the targeted therapies for breast cancer.
    • Lifestyle Habits: Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as alcohol, smoking, and lack of exercise escalate the risk.

    Stay informed, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and consult healthcare professionals for personalized guidance. Know more about the signs and early symptoms of breast cancer here.

    Dispelling Myths

    Myth: Underarm deodorants and underwire bras cause breast cancer.

    Fact: No evidence or studies indicate that using deodorants or bras, especially at night, increases the risk of breast cancer.

    Myth: There is usually a palpable lump when breast cancer is present.

    Fact: Breast cancer might not always cause a lump, especially when it first develops.

    Myth: I won't get it if I don't have a family history of breast cancer.

    Fact: Most breast cancer patients have no known family history.

    Myth: If you have larger breasts, you are more likely to develop breast cancer.

    Fact: There is no link between breast size and breast cancer risk, although examining larger breasts can sometimes be more challenging.

    Myth: Only women get breast cancer.

    Fact: Men can also develop breast cancer on occasion. Many people are unaware that males have breast tissue and that breast cancer can strike them as well.

    Myth: Breast injury develops as breast cancer.

    Fact: Trauma or injury to the breast does not lead to cancer. This myth arises from the possibility that an injury can make a developing breast cancer lump more noticeable.

    Early Detection Saves Lives: Breast Cancer Screening

    Regular breast self-exams, yearly check-ups with your doctor, and annual mammograms are key components of early breast cancer detection. India's low breast cancer survival rates stem from limited awareness and inadequate early screening. The triple assessment, involving physical examination, imaging, and biopsy in a hospital setting, provides a comprehensive screening method. The various screening methods are as follows:

    • Self-examination: You can self-examine your breast by detecting any lumps or masses indicative of cancerous growths. Timely reporting of any findings to healthcare providers is crucial. Regular monthly self-examinations are recommended for women of all ages to monitor their breast health actively. Although self-exams are valuable, they must complement mammograms and clinical exams.
    • Physical examination: A clinical breast exam (CBE) is a routine medical procedure done by a  healthcare provider to detect any abnormalities or signs of breast cancer.
    • Mammography: Mammography is the most common screening test for breast cancer. X-ray images of the breast are taken to detect tumors that are too small to be felt.
    • Ultrasound: Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of breast tissue. It's often used along with mammography to further evaluate the suspicious areas in the breast.
    • Imaging: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to screen women with a high risk of breast cancer for detailed images of breast tissue.
    • Biopsy: A core needle biopsy (CNB) for breast cancer is typically done when a suspicious lump or abnormality is found during a mammogram, ultrasound, or physical examination. It is used to obtain a tissue sample from the lump for further analysis, confirming whether it is cancerous.

    The Bottom Line


    As Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2023 commences this October, let's embark on a journey of unity and education. Let's illuminate the path towards early detection, support, and resilience together. This month, we pledge to spread awareness, encourage screenings, and stand alongside those facing breast cancer. With our collective efforts, we can make strides in research, support, and understanding, fostering a world where breast cancer is met with courage, compassion, and unwavering hope.


     Empowered Together, Defeating Breast Cancer Forever!

    Written by
    Dr Archana GuptaMedical Content Writer
    Tags :Pink Octoberbreast cancer awarenessbreast cancerbreast cancer myths and facts breast cancer awareness month 2023