If it’s October, it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The event spread like wildfire worldwide but it first originated in the U.S. three decades ago.
The pink ribbon was first on public display in 1991 when breast cancer survivors marched on New York City’s streets in a desperate effort to make women aware of the life-threatening disease and request a mammogram before it is too late. One year later, the pink ribbon was the official hallmark of the fight against breast cancer.
The ribbon was designed by breast cancer survivor and Australian-born businesswoman Evelyn Lauder and SELF magazine editor Alexandra Penney. Lauder was diagnosed with early breast cancer and wanted to tell other women how a mammogram could save their life.
She started her breast cancer awareness campaign within her and her husband’s company Estée Lauder. Customers who bought cosmetics from the company’s stores were awarded pink ribbons and advised to undergo examinations.
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation embraced the idea and pink ribbons steadily became more popular among women worldwide. In the past two decades the BCRF conducted more than 8.5 million hours of breast cancer research and collected millions of dollars in donations. The donations were used to fund Ms. Lauder’s Breast Cancer Center in New York City.
In 1992, Avon Products Inc. started its own campaign. Today the campaign reached more than 50 countries, and raised important funds to sponsor research and provide help to women in distress.
“This is the company that fights wrinkles with one hand and breast cancer with the other,”
Avon wrote on its site.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month’s major goal was to make women aware of the need of having breast examinations before it is too late. Every year organizers of breast cancer awareness campaigns invite women between age 49 and 70 to ask their GP for a referral and, why not, join the pink army’s ranks.
But if you are not invited to a screening that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a risk of developing breast cancer. More than 50 percent of breast cancer patients that lose the battle against the frightening disease are older than 70, while only 14 percent of these women will undergo the standard treatment applied to their younger peers.
Breast cancer centers plan to extend the age limit for breast cancer screenings to 73 and advocated for better treatments for this age group. Breast cancer experts caution that a simple scan and mammogram may sometimes not be enough to detect the disease. Many patients learned they had the disease from their breast consultants that saw unusual formations on their breast and referred them for a biopsy.
Image Source: Flickr
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