Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast cancer awareness is a movement that aims to increase awareness and reduce the stigma linked to the symptoms and treatment of breast cancer.

Through the provision of education about the characteristics of breast cancer to the general public, supporters believe that more people can become informed about the disease, leading to improved treatment outcomes for the affected women due to earlier detection and better treatment methods.

This is a type of health advocacy that raises funds and lobbies for better care, deeper knowledge, and empowerment for women with breast cancer. The campaigns focus on increasing awareness of breast cancer detection and treatment.

As a result of these campaigns, there has been a significant increase in the number of breast cancer cases detected and women needing treatment. Overall, cases of breast cancer are now being treated earlier than previously done, at a stage when the cancer is more treatable.

Early Detection of Breast Cancer

If cases of breast cancer can be detected earlier, it is possible to initiate treatments for the disease before the cancerous growth has spread and become a serious concern. For this reason, one of the core aims of breast cancer awareness is to encourage screening for breast cancer for women.

However, there is some concern about the over-detection of breast cancer and overzealous screening leading to excessive treatment for this condition. This is a particular concern for women with early-stage breast cancer who may have never experienced symptoms related to the cancer and undergo unnecessary treatment.

Funding for Research

Another core aspect of breast cancer awareness is raising funds for breast cancer research. It is hoped that further knowledge about the pathology of breast cancer could lead to the discovery or a more reliable and permanent cure than what is currently available.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In many countries around the world, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is held in October, sometimes referred to as Pinktober. Many breast cancer awareness advocates focus their efforts in this month each year, often with the reception of corporate sponsorships for financial support for the activities. NBCAM began in 1985 by the American Cancer Society and AstraZeneca.

There are many different forms of events held in October each year to raise awareness for breast cancer, such as foot races, walk-a-thons, bicycle rises, conferences, or other events.

The events that are run throughout the month help supporters of the cause to come together and continue to build awareness about breast cancer as well as funding for continued research.

The Pink Ribbon

The pink ribbon is the symbol for breast cancer awareness, which is used as a concept brand. It combines the fear of cancer with the hope for successful treatment and encourages such people to buy or wear a pink ribbon to demonstrate their support and increase awareness of the brand.

Breast cancer awareness ribbon background. October is month of breast cancer awareness in the world. Pink ribbon. Vector illustration - Image Credit: Vitalex / Shutterstock
Breast cancer awareness ribbon background. October is month of breast cancer awareness in the world. Pink ribbon. Vector illustration - Image Credit: Vitalex / Shutterstock

The “pink ribbon brand” is strong and supported by a socially aware market of people who advocate for improved health outcomes for women and positive thinking to solve the problem of breast cancer.

It has seen considerable success because many people have experienced the effects of breast cancer directly, either themselves or through people that they know, and can identify with the cause.

Additionally, there is no counter movement to oppose breast cancer awareness and the general public agrees that breast cancer is not desirable.

There is some feeling of imbalance with regards to awareness for breast cancer in contrast to other types of cancer, such as prostate cancer.

However, rather than decreasing awareness of breast cancer it seems logical to increase awareness of other types of cancer to match the success of that achieved by breast cancer awareness campaigns and the pink ribbon.

Reviewed by Susha Cheriyedath, MSc

References

Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2017

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