Internationally, October is often seen as a month of change, as in most regions, summer starts to decline, and autumn starts to show its gentle touches. It has also recently become known as the Pink Ribbon Month, hence the name PINKtober in association with the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast Cancer Awareness is a global campaign designed to raise awareness about breast cancer. Basic goals are to stress the importance of early detection, treatment, and support for patients and research into the disease.
Symbolized by the pink ribbon, the breast cancer awareness campaign serves to remind us of the importance of early detection, support for those affected, and the ongoing battle against this formidable disease.
Understanding Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a malignant form of tumor that initiates in the cells of the breast. It is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Contrary to common belief, men can also suffer from breast cancer, although it’s much less common. While like any other disease, the causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, common factors like genetics, lifestyle, and hormonal influences can contribute to its development.
Early Detection Can Save Lives
One of the core messages of breast cancer awareness campaign is the importance that early detection can have for patients. Early-stage breast cancer is often without specific symptoms. This is why it is important that we educate people (not just women) about the importance of regular breast self-exams, clinical breast exams, and mammograms. It is essential that tumors are identified when they are small and more treatable.
When detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer exceeds 90%, highlighting the critical role of screening and early diagnosis. This is particularly important in Pakistan, where 1 out of 9 women is likely to suffer from breast cancer at some point in her life. In addition, what is alarming is that 109 women die every 24 hours due to breast cancer. The almost 77% of breast cancer patients in Pakistan are above 50 years, which makes women above 45 years a specific demographic for early detection and therefore prevention of the disease.
In a country where there are numerous taboos and myths around women’s health, and. specifically breast cancer, ensuring that women are supported in the early detection is essential.
The Pink Ribbon Campaign
The pink ribbon has been a global symbol for breast cancer awareness since its origins in the early 1990s. since then, it has been adopted by organizations, survivors, and supporters worldwide. The pink ribbon serves as a strong reminder of the ongoing fight against breast cancer and the need for continued research, education, and support for individuals and families affected by the disease.
Support and Empowerment
Breast cancer awareness month is not only about encouraging early detection but also about providing support and empowerment to those battling breast cancer. Support can come in various forms, including emotional support, financial assistance, and access to resources and treatment options. Communities and organizations in Pakistan organize events, fundraisers, and educational programs to create a sense of unity and support for those affected by breast cancer.
Advancements in Research and Treatment
Breast cancer research has made significant progress over the years. This has resulted in improved treatment options and outcomes. Due to ongoing research efforts, there have been advancements in targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and personalized medicine. Breast cancer awareness plays a crucial role in funding these research endeavors, giving support and hope to countless individuals and families impacted by the disease.
Prevention and Treatment: Help Make a Difference
While not all breast cancer cases can be prevented, adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk. Encouraging habits like regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and frequent medical checkups after the age of 40 can result in better overall breast health.
Promoting awareness of these prevention factors is another essential aspect of breast cancer awareness month. With the economic situation worsening, many people opt out of voluntary medical tests and treatments. Businesses can support breast cancer awareness campaigns by financially supporting their staff and their spouses in getting breast cancer scans done.
Breast cancer awareness is about more than just wearing pink; it’s about taking action, spreading knowledge, and offering support. By educating and supporting ourselves and others about the importance of early detection, supporting those affected, and contributing to ongoing prevention and treatment efforts, we can make a meaningful impact in the fight against breast cancer.
Let’s come together this October and beyond to embrace the pink ribbon and work towards a world where breast cancer is not a life-threatening disease anymore.
Sadia Zaheer holds a Masters in Business Administration from IBA, Karachi. After working in several financial institutions in Client Management, Corporate Lending, Islamic Banking and Product Management she jumped careers to pursue a career in writing.
She is a Finance, Business and HR Development writer with four years of experience. She reads a lot and takes care of her multiple cats to remain calm.