October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast Cancer marks about 23% of all cancers in women; although it is a cancer in both sexes, it is 100 times more likely to occur in women. Screening efforts today involve clinical and self breast exams, mammography, genetic screening, ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging. October is used to raise awareness in healthy women that testing can lead to earlier detections that can greatly improve outcomes.
The feminist movements in the 80s and 90s that lead to the women’s health movement created a widespread acceptance and understanding of this cancer. This understanding brought about advances in patient care, second opinions before surgery and less invasive surgical procedures. Diagnoses of early stages of breast cancer have been increasing steadily since the 80s and 90s, while the amount of cases of late stage breast cancers found have remained relatively even. These early stage diagnoses are great for the treatment of breast cancer, but they also drastically alter the statistics. For example, many women today hear that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
Today the pink ribbon is used as a symbol to raise awareness to breast cancer. The pink ribbon is similar to the poppies on Remembrance Day.