When we think "October" the things that come to mind are usually related to pumpkin spice and trick or treating or Halloween parties. Also in the mind of many, as it's become increasingly popular, is the fact that October is also the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
So maybe you're interested in being more involved with the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but you're not sure how to go about it. Something sparks your mind, perhaps a color: pink. We know the Breast Cancer Awareness Month has something to do with pink and that dressing things in pink means you're supporting that cause, or at least... something like that.
Let's take a step back first. The best thing you can do for the Cancer Awareness Month is to take a moment to understand what it is about. That way you can have a better grip on how to be of actual help to the cause, and that's the first step (we guess): understanding that this cause needs your help because there's a lot of distraction about and around it.
What's With The Pink?
Peach was the first color to be associated with a breast-cancer cause as Charlotte Hayley attached it to a letter that read “The National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is 1.8 billion US dollars, and only 5 percent goes to cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”
The peach colored ribbon was substituted later by a pink ribbon, supported by big companies like Self Magazine and Estee Lauder.
The whole pink theme starts with a ribbon. Originally the only pink thing that you'd champion around for the cause was a ribbon, but the ribbon eventually morphed to the point that, today, it can take any kind of shape and it can be represented by any one item (or even the whole attire).
The ribbon and the pink are merely a symbol, a pledge of allegiance if you will. You pledge to help make people aware of issues related to breast cancer. Your pink ribbon (or pink anything) is there to remind people that breast cancer is very real; that they should have regular check-ups, that they should support people fighting that disease, that you yourself support people around you fighting that disease, that they can count on you, that they are not alone and that we are all here together.
Simply by knowing what the pink you proudly sponsor stands for, you are helping the cause.
What Else Should We Be Aware Of?
However big a threat breast cancer in the U.S. is, it remains an even greater threat to other countries, especially to low-income countries.
Let us remember that our voices should be one, and our song shall be heard in unison. Let us stand together in borderless kinship.
According to the International Cancer Control Partnership, even when breast cancer has lower occurrence in low and middle-income countries, mortality-to-incidence ratios are significantly higher than those in high-income countries. For them, late-stage diagnosis represents a huge problem. Over 80% of women present with an advanced and late-stage disease, requiring metastatic disease management and palliative care rather than curative care. In contrast, in high-income countries, over 80% of breast cancer patients present with early-stage disease and are potentially curable.
In short, to low-and-middle-income countries, breast cancer is far more life-threatening than it is to high-income countries, and we need to keep them in mind when someone asks us why we're doing what we're doing (pledging allegiance to breast cancer awareness).
Another thing to consider is access to treatment. Access to treatment is imperative. If people struck by this disease aren't able to get treatment, what good is any of this?
Cancer Awareness Month is here to put all these things in our minds and make us talk about it. It is here to make you google breast-cancer-related questions. It is here to support those who have been struck by this disease. It is here for you to think, to ponder, to be aware of the issues surrounding it. It is here to get you to guide other people with their curiosity towards the subject and help them get the answers they need.
- Pledging to the cause and sponsoring its pink color
- Becoming curious about it is what it's about
- Satisfying our curiosity and becoming therefore aware.
- And, ultimately, helping others do the same.
If you follow those four steps, you will have done this right. That's exactly what the Cancer Awareness Month is all about. By now, you're kinda more than half-way through.
If you have questions about breast cancer, you can check out:
For info on breast cancer in the U.S. - National Breast Cancer Foundation
For info on breast cancer abroad - International Cancer Control Partnership (ICCP)
We hope to have kindled your curiosity and that you are now eager to learn more and help others do the same. Check out the rest of our blog if you liked this post!