October isn’t only the month of Halloween and the midterms. The magical tenth day is an important period aiming at increasing awareness of breast cancer.
NBCAM (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month) was founded in 1985 in October as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries . The aim of NBCAM is to draw attention to the importance of combating breast cancer worldwide. Only in Hungary, one in every 10 women is affected by breast cancer in their lifetime, but in 95% of the cases it could be cured after early diagnosis. The American Cancer Society, the Hungarian Anti-Cancer League, and all organizations that have joined NBCAM’s awareness and sensitization initiative, are giving a helping hand to women to recognize breast cancer symptoms in a timely manner, and provide preventive advice to potential stakeholders.
At the beginning the action they didn’t have a symbol. It was until 1993, when Evelyn Lauder founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and established the pink ribbon as its symbol. Since then, pink, as an attribute of the fight against breast cancer (especially in October), has been gradually appearing. Today we can do pink walks, runs, having a car-free day, but choosing the colour of our clothes is the simplest way to show that we stand by this cause.. Thanks to the launch of Breast Cancer Now, an English breast cancer charity called out to Wear it Pink, we are encouraged to do this on 18th October.
How could this become a campaign?
Each of the organizations mentioned so far are only a fraction of those who deal with the issue worldwide, whether involved in research, mental aid, or prevention. Today, at least three organizations are working on this in Hungary: the Hungarian Cancer League, the Breast Cancer Association and the Foundation for Curing Breast Cancer, furthermore many small and large companies have a share in the subject and have one joint goal: to teach women prevention and early detection. These programs are responsible for proving that besides the climate disaster or over-consumption, breast cancer is not a problem that can or be neglected.
What about men?
Between 5,000 and 6,000 patients are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Hungary, of whom approx. 200 die because of it. Men are less affected, and in their case the incidence of the disease is less than 1%, but usually more aggressive. However, their symptoms are similar to those of women, and it is also important for men to have a preventive lifestyle and early detection of cancer, as it is generally true for breast cancer that the sooner it is noticed, the more likely it can be cured.
Let’s do a self-examination!
It is really important to do self-examination in the diagnosis of breast cancer, as the leading organisations emphasise. For this purpose, it is advisable to conduct a monthly examination. To do this, you can go online or watch videos on Youtube but many infographics can help learning the right technique. The Hungarian Anti-Cancer League and by many other organisations worldwide provide such leaflets, infographics to help people all over the World.
Breast cancer in Hungary is diagnosed five to six times more in a year than cervical cancer, but both can be prevented by regular examination and screening. Breast cancer can also affect men, so it is worth paying attention if they present with any symptom of breast cancer. Consequently, Pink October’s initiative is not only a movement of people dressed in pink because of a minor problem. Behind the action there are people, human lives and fates against a disease which can be cured by early detection. Fortunately, there are many NGOs waiting for applicants for their various programs, so we have more opportunities to help the people involved.