October marks the beginning of fall. As the leaves start to turn colors, so does our awareness of our health. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). The United States refers to it as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). You’ll mainly notice someone participating and supporting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month as they wear pink ribbons or have pink associated with themselves in some way.
This month is recognized world-wide as breast cancer charities attempt to increase awareness and raise funds. These funds are used for research and to support families in need. In doing so, many lives are saved each year.
Understanding the Survival Rate
The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) estimates that the percentage of those surviving breast cancer is 89.2%. This study was conducted over a five-year period during 2004-2010. The good news is that the treatment has improved since then, so this rate may be higher now.
Those in Stages 0 and I have a 100% survival chance. Those with Stage II have a 93% survival chance. Stage III survivors have a 72% survival chance. And those with Stage IV breast cancer have only a 22% survival chance. These numbers are real, but as you can see, early detection and treatment as early as possible extends the likelihood of survival. This is why having a Breast Cancer Awareness Month is so important for us all.
It’s important for women to get mammograms regularly to catch breast cancer in its earliest stage. Those 40 to 49 years old should consult with their doctor about when and how often to get their screenings. Women 50 to 74 years old should be screened every two years. The CDC has produced this fact sheet of which you can find out more information on how you can qualify for a free or low-cost mammogram. You can also sign up for the Early Detection Program, operated by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. This program helps you keep up with your detection plan.
Trembling Facts about Breast Cancer
• Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer for women
• 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime
• Breast cancer is not age specific. 1% of breast cancer cases are found in women under 45 years of age.
• Of all racial and ethnic groups, black women have the highest death rates of breast cancer
• 232,670 United States women are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 (American Cancer Society)
• 40,000 women die each year from breast cancer
• 2,000 men get breast cancer each year in the United States
• 400 men die each year from breast cancer
• Breast cancer incidences decreased 7% from 2002-2003. It’s believed to be because of the decline in use of hormone therapy after menopause. This was due to a study that the Women’s Health Initiative released in 2002.
• Breast cancer deaths have decreased, especially in women younger than 50, since 1989. This is due to the early detection screening, breast cancer awareness activities, and improved treatment.
• The United States has over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors!
Common Activities during Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The National Football League
In October, the National Football League supports breast cancer awareness in their stadiums. Pink is integrated on and off the field.
Race for the Cure
The first Race for the Cure was organized in October 1983 in Dallas, TX, of which 800 people participated. Since then, it has been known as the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and now has over 150 events in four continents. There are 1.6 million people participating in this 3-day event now.
Walks to End Breast Cancer
Many cities and organizations are sponsoring “day” walks throughout the country. St. Louis hosts a 1-day breast cancer walk event of three miles. Atlanta has a 30-mile walk. Canada has a 60 km walk over the weekend. Avon also sponsors a 39 mile walk.
Great Architect Gaming Community
The gaming communities are even engaged with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Great Architect Gaming Community encourages all their members to wear pink all of October.
Find a National Breast Cancer Month Event Near You!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is important for us all. Looking at the figures that 1 in every 8 women will develop breast cancer, this is probably personal to you too. So get your pink ribbons ready and participate this October in ending this horrible disease.