October is observed as “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM)” in the United States – a unique platform to increase breast cancer awareness, education and research. This annual campaign aims to spread awareness about breast cancer and raise funds for breast cancer research (including its causes, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure). Breast cancer – that forms in the cells of the breasts – is one of the most common types of cancers diagnosed in women in the United States (other than skin cancer) and the leading cause of death in women. There are several factors that increase the risk of this condition which include – female, age, a personal/family history of breast cancer, exposure to radiation, postmenopausal hormone therapy and obesity. Leading multi-specialty healthcare and pain management centers in Brooklyn, NYC offer a new personalized approach to treatment that helps in early detection of cancer symptoms so that the disease can be more effectively treated and prevented from spreading to other areas of the body.
Breast cancer (that generally affects women above 40 years of age) occurs when some breast cells begin to grow abnormally and divide more rapidly than healthy cells. These cells continue to accumulate, (forming a lump or mass) and may spread through your breast to your lymph nodes or to other parts of your body. Reports from the American Cancer Society (ACS) suggest that about 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and about 40,920 women will die from this disease (2018 statistics). It is estimated that about 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Typical signs and symptoms include – breast pain/swelling, a breast lump or thickening, change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast, inverted nipple and redness or pitting of the skin over your breast.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month was first celebrated in the year 1985 in the United States. The campaign began as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs). The major objective behind this event was to encourage women to undergo mammography screenings at least once in 2 years to detect any specific abnormalities or tumors in the breast tissue early so that it can be treated more effectively. However, within a few years, the scope of the event widened and a number of organizations in the US and other countries began supporting this international health awareness initiative. With the founding of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in the year 1993, the “pink ribbon” was selected as the official symbol for this awareness campaign.
The 2018 monthly campaign aims to create a difference in the community – by spreading the word about including possible strategies for breast cancer prevention and encouraging people to live healthy lives. These include – undergoing regular cancer screening tests, knowing your family history and incorporating significant lifestyle changes that may reduce the possibility of breast cancer. Making simple, but visible changes in your daily life patterns may also help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Incorporating positive lifestyle habits like combining a healthy diet (that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts) with regular physical exercise can help control risk factors associated with the breast condition to a great extent. In addition, reducing the habit of smoking and limiting the intake of alcohol will also help alleviate the symptoms. Getting enrolled in weight loss programs and smoking cessation programs offered by reputable healthcare centers in Brooklyn, NYC would be an ideal option.
As part of the NBCAM campaign, a host of events such as virtual campaigns, educational programs, awareness initiatives, surveys, interdisciplinary pain management programs, displaying informational pamphlets and posters, fund-raising activities such as walks, runs, auctions, concerts, and other charity events will be held across the country throughout the month of October.
Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Join hands to generate more awareness about breast cancer and its symptoms.