Breast Cancer Awareness Month - October

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - OctoberOct 17, 2013: To increase awareness about breast cancer every October is celebrated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). This celebration is also referred to locally as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM).

Though October is recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NBCAM is a year-round provider of current breast cancer information and resources for patients, survivors, caregivers, as well as the general public. In 2009, NBCAM celebrated its 25th anniversary. NBCAM has been at the forefront of promoting awareness about breast cancer issues since its inception a quarter century ago.

Major breast cancer charities organize their annual international health campaign in October to raise funds for research and development about the cause, prevention and cure of breast cancer. NBCAM offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer. It is also a great opportunity to remind women to be breast aware for earlier detection and hence higher chances of cure.

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthThe number of companies promoting breast cancer awareness has increased over the years. To celebrate BCAM, several companies arrange the illumination of world-famous landmarks in pink light to draw attention to the importance of mammography screening for early diagnosis of breast cancer.

In 2009, the Georgia Aquarium celebrated NBCAM by lighting up in pink for the entire month of October.

People raise money each October for BCAM, by organizing activities such as a "pink day," when employees wear pink clothing or accessories at work, fund raising walks, marathons and bike rides. Usually, organizers donate the money raised to a breast cancer care or research program of their choice.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - FundraisingAlso, there are "pink products" which donate a part of their sales' revenues to support research and care for breast cancer. Some examples of such products are pink prepaid debit cards, credit cards, consumer products pertaining to fashion and beauty, electronics, personal care and jewelery, sports, travel, games, home, gifts, and more. BCRF (Breast Cancer Research Foundation) has created an amazing range of "pink products," programs and events that help raise funds and support for itself.

Among various non-profit organizations that support NBCAM and are working actively to raise awareness about breast cancer, Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a global leader of the breast cancer movement. This organization has invested more than $1 billion since its inception in 1982.

Susan G. Komen for the CureIt's noteworthy to mention that they have the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is working to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®, and generous contributions from partners, sponsors and fellow supporters, have helped this organization to become the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.

Some other sponsors of NBCAM include established and trustworthy names like American Cancer Society (ACS), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, Breast Cancer Network of Strength, CancerCare Inc, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Men Against Breast Cancer (MABC), National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Medical Association (NMA), Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), and Prevent Cancer Foundation (PCF).

In this world of duality, NBCAM has also encountered its fair share of criticism. The Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) has criticized the basic message of NBCAM as a form of victim blaming because it focuses on "early detection and treatment" while ignoring the cause which might be rooted in environmental and genetic factors as well as hormonal imbalances. Some also criticize drug, chemical and bio tech companies, which usually sponsor NBCAM. The proposition in such cases is that these companies have a vested interest in treating the disease (which boost sale of their products) rather than finding ways to minimize its rate of incidence. Other criticisms focus on marketing of "pink products" and partnerships. Their mainstay is that more money is spent marketing these campaigns than is donated to the cause!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - OctoberWell, we have tried to present a balanced picture of BCAM or NBCAM as is. There are pros and cons of this event. The goodies lie in the facts that NBCAM has presented a useful resource of information about breast cancer which is definitely of great aid to those who have been diagnosed with this disease. Also, it has done its part well to increase awareness about breast cancer and raise funds for its treatment, cure and research. The critics do have a point about the focus being on detection and care of breast cancer rather than on research and eradication of its cause. We have a feeling that with time, there will be a flow of increased energy and funds towards the critics' cause. This will perhaps restore balance and increase transparency in the treatment, care and prevention of breast cancer.

What are your views about NBCAM? We look forward to your comments and feedback.


[1] Wikipedia - Breast Cancer

[2] NBCAM - National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

[3] Susan G Komen for the Cure - Breast Cancer Foundation

Image Source(s): iStockPhoto