According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States (some kinds of skin cancer are the most common). Black women and white women get breast cancer at about the same rate, but black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate than white women.”
As of January of this year, over 3.5 million women in the United States have either finished breast cancer treatment or are currently being treated. Experts estimate that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
CDC data indicates that the overall breast cancer death rate decreased slightly, by a little over 1% per year, from 2013 to 2017 (the latest year for which data are available). It is believed that these decreases are due to advances in treatment as well as earlier detection through screening.
“Pink Ribbon Month”
According to the Brevard Health Alliance, “Pink Ribbon Month” began back in 1985; it was a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the now-defunct Imperial Chemical Industries’ Pharmaceutical Division. Then a week-long event, it was promoted by former First Lady and breast cancer survivor Betty Ford.
The goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to raise awareness of the prevalence of breast cancer and the importance of early detection, and to raise funds for breast cancer research.
In 1992, Estée Lauder Cosmetics founded the first “Pink Ribbon” campaign, handing out over 1.5 million ribbons. Since then, the pink ribbon has become synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the company has donated tens of millions of dollars to research, education, and medical services. This year, the Estee Lauder family of brands is once again donating significant proceeds to breast cancer research from the sale of certain products. The list of brands and products is available here.
As the National Breast Cancer Foundation notes, “2020 has been a powerful reminder that we are all in this together, and our choices and actions have the power to protect the most vulnerable among us in a big way. The same holds true when it comes to breast cancer.”
One of the most well-known organizations bringing awareness to breast cancer is the Susan G. Komen® organization, which bills itself as “the ONLY organization that addresses breast cancer on multiple fronts such as research, community health, global outreach and public policy initiatives in order to make the biggest impact against this disease.”
While many have heard of the Komen “Race for the Cure,” according to the Komen organization, the “MORE THAN PINK Walk® is Komen’s signature fundraising event…. The Komen Race for the Cure® is an education and fundraising event for breast cancer. The series of 5K runs and fitness walks raises significant funds and awareness for the breast cancer movement, celebrates breast cancer survivorship and honors that who have lost their battle with the disease.”
You can learn more about the local chapter, which recently hosted its 2020 “Virtual Walk,” here.
Where to Get Screened
Several local facilities offer free- or low-cost mammograms, which are an important breast cancer screening tool. “Free Mammograms” provides one such list: https://www.freemammograms.org/city/fl-fort_lauderdale.
Broward Health’s Financial Assistance Program can help defray the cost of mammograms for those who are uninsured. You can learn more about this program here.