According to Medical West, “one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. When breast cancer is found and treated early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.”
As it is now widely known, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Oaks Senior Living, with assisted living communities throughout Georgia, is proud to show support for this cause and spread awareness for breast cancer in October, as well as throughout the year.
To continue our efforts this year, we are sharing the history of Breast Cancer Awareness month along with tips for prevention and early detection.
The History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Brevard Health Alliance states, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries. Betty Ford [along with her daughter] helped kick off the week-long event, as she was herself a survivor of breast cancer.”
In 1992, Estée Lauder cosmetics launched a nation-wide campaign that utilized a pink ribbon as its symbol and visual reminder of Breast Cancer Awareness month. During the initial campaign, the cosmetic company distributed 1.5 million pink ribbons. As awareness and the meaning of the month grew over the years, pink ribbons have become a staple to the month of October and are a significant symbol for breast cancer awareness.
The Purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
When Breast Cancer Awareness month began, its primary goal was to spread awareness and educate women about breast cancer and preventative testing so that they could take control of their health. One of the biggest pushes was for easy access to mammograms, a vital tool used for early detection of breast cancer. In fact, in 1993, “President Clinton proclaimed the third Friday in October to be ‘National Mammography Day’ and urged companies, clinics, and radiologists to provide free or discounted screening on that special day (Breast Cancer Consortium).”
As time passed, Breast Cancer Awareness month grew into what it is today. The month of October is used to celebrate and encourage the women and men who have survived breast cancer or are currently battling it, and honor those we have lost. Additionally, Breast Cancer Awareness month is dedicated to fundraising efforts for breast cancer research.
Breast Cancer Prevention
Early detection is crucial when it comes to the battle against breast cancer. When you participate in preventive screenings, understand your personal risk factors, and know what symptoms and signs to look out for, you are well equipped to catch the disease early and prevent it from developing further.
Common Risk Factors of Breast Cancer
- Gender – Even though men can develop breast cancer, it is much more common in women.
- Increasing Age – Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age. Susan G. Komen states, “rates begin to increase after age 40 and are highest in women over age 70.”
- Obesity – Being overweight increases your risk of developing breast cancer.
- Never Being Pregnant – Women who have never been pregnant are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who have had at least one pregnancy.
- Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy – In order to treat the symptoms of menopause, some women take medications that combine estrogen and progesterone. These medications put women at a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Family History – If a woman in your family has had breast cancer, especially at a young age, your risk is also increased. Certain gene mutations can be passed from parents to children, so it is important to be mindful of your family history.
Oaks Senior Living supports the mission of Breast Cancer Awareness month and is proud to share the stories of those who have fought the disease and won! Read our blog, “The Story of Kay Goff and Hope Boutique."
Throughout our assisted living communities in Georgia, we treat residents and team members like family. Become a part of our Oaks family and discover what it is like to live in a community that cares for and celebrates one another. Contact a member of our Oaks Senior Living team for more information on our communities and the services and care we provide.