The Origins of October As Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Written by on September 14, 2012 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page


Until the 1950s, the mainstream medical treatment for breast cancer was a total removal of all breast tissue in the affected area. The muscle tissue beneath the affected breast and lymph nodes in the under arm area on the side of the affected area was also removed.  This had the danger of leaving the patient disabled, fighting for life, or at the very least, disfigured.  With no good way to detect the cancer early enough so that it could be removed sooner and more easily, diagnoses were considered terminal.  Soon more and more people were afflicted with this disease and steps were taken to offer better prevention and early diagnosis methods.

Fast forward to today, and you will find that every October, there is a flood of pink ribbons as the United States and other participating countries honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Breast Cancer Awareness Month was created in 1985 between the American Academy of Family Physicians and AstraZeneca Healthcare Foundation.  The year 2010 marks its 25th anniversary, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1985. Today, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has come to include national public service organizations, government agencies, and medical associations that pull together and raise awareness about breast cancer.

Pink Ribbons

In the 1990s, when ribbon-wearing was becoming a minor trend, the Susan G. Komen foundation handed out the now-famous pink ribbons – which symbolized health and femininity at an annual fundraising event.  Ever since then, the ribbons have popped up everywhere and these pink ribbon products make an especially large appearance in October.


One of the ways Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated and recognized is through community events designed to raise money for cancer research.  Many events such as walk-a-thons are held for this purpose.  Two of the more well-known activities include the Komen Race for the Cure and Avon’s Walk for Breast Cancer.

Other community events include blood drives, breakfasts, tele-a-thons, and free mammograms. Events held include early detections clinics, educational lectures held across the country, and proper testing techniques. Charities serve year-round, but many are hosted during the designated time of the year in October – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you would like to participate in one of these events, begin planning now because October is fast approaching.  By visiting the website, you can find a list of nearly every event scheduled in the near future, including those that are set to take place this National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Whatever the event, wherever the country, it is clear that October has become a national symbol of breast cancer awareness, and with the trend continuing to bring in more support and more donations, perhaps someday there can be a cure for this horrible disease.  Though it is talked about and discussed more heatedly during this thirty-one day span, breast cancer is in existence every day of the year.  The relentless daily reality for millions of men and women and their families is that it does not simply go away.  We all must continue the fight against breast cancer, so that all of those who lost their battle did not lose that battle in vain, and for the suffering families left behind in the tragic wake of breast cancer.

This is a guest post.  Sarah is an avid party planner with a passion for holidays, weddings and more. She is also a regular contributor to the Holiday Gifts & Gift Baskets Blog, where you can find gifts for those fighting breast cancer.


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