Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is annually observed across the globe during the month of October (from October 1 to 31) to raise awareness about breast cancer, promote early detection, support those affected by the disease, and raise funds for research, prevention, and treatment.
- BCAM, the month-long global health campaign, serves as a reminder of the significance of regular breast examinations and mammograms to detect breast cancer at an early, more treatable stage.
Symbol: The pink ribbon is an international symbol of support for breast cancer awareness month.
- In a global effort to raise awareness of breast cancer, October has been designated as “Pink Month“.
i.The event started as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), a weeklong event in October 1985.
ii.It was organised in partnership between the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries, which would later become part of AstraZeneca.
- NBCAM was organised to promote mammograms as the most effective tool to fight breast cancer.
History of the Pink Ribbon:
i.Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization has used the colour pink since its inception in 1982.
ii.In 1992, Evelyn H. Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of Estée Lauder (Cosmetics Company) and breast cancer survivor launched the Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign, and in 1993, she founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
- The Estée Lauder Companies’ iconic brands support its mission to create a breast cancer-free world and raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
Note: The original pink ribbon inspiration colour was peach.
About Breast Cancer:
i.Breast cancer starts in the cells of the breast as a group of cancer cells that can then invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.
ii.Breast cancer most often begins with cells in the milk-producing ducts (invasive ductal carcinoma).
iii.It may also begin in the glandular tissue called lobules (invasive lobular carcinoma) or in other cells or tissue within the breast.
i.Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women. The goal is to reduce breast cancer mortality by 2.5% per year.
ii.23% of breast cancer cases are preventable. Taking steps such as maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and quitting smoking, can help reduce the risk.
iii.Breast cancer deaths disproportionately affect individuals in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
iv.In high-income countries, the 5-year survival rates exceed 90% (9 out of 10), compared with 66% (6 out of 10) in India and 40% (4 out of 10) in South Africa.
v.Survival rates for breast cancer are very high when the cancer is detected early and where treatment is available.
Breast Cancer in India:
i.According to the National Cancer Registry of India, it is estimated that by 2025, there will be 230,000 new cases of breast cancer annually in India, with an increase in young women being diagnosed.
ii.Young women with breast cancer are typically diagnosed at or below the age of 40. They constitute less than 10% of all new breast cancer cases annually.
iii.Risk factors such as genetic mutations, obesity, and delayed childbirth can contribute to its occurrence.