October 15, 2018
It’s been 25 years since the first pink ribbons appeared to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In that time, we’ve seen a reduction in breast cancer for women over the age of 50 and a decline in overall death rates, thanks in large part to better screening and early detection.
Yet despite this success, there remains a big gap between awareness and prevention. Breast cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. This year, more than 250,000 people will receive the life-changing news that they are the one in eight who will be diagnosed in their lifetime. Understanding that breast cancer is a threat to all women is the first important step, but prevention is what will save your life.
Your family history isn’t the only deciding factor. Lifestyle choices can raise your risk, and these are decisions you have the power to control. Tackling this list can move your needle from general breast cancer awareness to active prevention, which is really what we’re after this month—and every month as we spread awareness about breast cancer.
Compared to lung or prostate cancer, Breast Cancer Awareness Month generates a healthy surge in online interest and research. But despite peaks in attention, translating what you know into action can be challenging, and many women struggle even as they embrace walks, pink ribbons and all sorts of other awareness efforts. While you can’t change your gender, age or family history, you can fight breast cancer before it fights you. Remember to perform regular self-exams, schedule an annual clinical exam, and based on your age and the advice of your health care practitioner, get a mammogram. This month, consider ways to translate your awareness into action and encourage the women in your life to do the same. It can save your life - or the life of someone you care about.