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What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Why You Should Care

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UNH chapter.

It is more than likely that you have seen someone sporting a pink ribbon in some way during the month of October, whether it be in the media or in your own life, to recognize and show support for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in honor of those who have battled breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. 

October is a month that has taken on significance in the fight against breast cancer. It’s a time when events and campaigns consume our daily lives, reminding us of the importance of awareness. It is a vital and powerful reminder of the importance of support and encouragement in the face of a deadly disease that affects millions each year. 

The Importance of Awareness

Showing support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month has a profound impact on families, communities and the overall global fight against breast cancer. No matter who you are or where you are from, it is possible that in some way breast cancer may strike your life. Each year, during the entire month of October, communities and individuals come together to show support for the one in every eight women who will face a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, with millions of new cases diagnosed each year. While early detection and advances in treatment have helped to improve survival rates, awareness remains a primary benefaction. The month of October serves as a platform for spreading information about risk factors, signs, symptoms and the importance of regular screenings.

The purpose of spreading awareness is to improve support and screening for the disease for women across the nation. Over 3.5 million breast cancer patients are alive today due to advances in screening, detection and treatment and also the rise of awareness in society and media. 

Reducing Stigma 

For many women, a breast cancer diagnosis can be accompanied by feelings of shame or stigma, particularly when it comes to discussions of the bodily changes and emotional struggles that patients may endure. Breast Cancer Awareness Month addresses breaking down these barriers through open discussions about the disease and the encouragement of vulnerable conversation. By doing so, it’s possible to lower the stigma associated with breast cancer, making it easier for women to seek help, share their stories and support one another.

Getting Involved 

The emotional and physical toll that breast cancer has on individuals as well as families is extensive, and the sympathy spread during this month is a way to offer strength and hope that some people may not otherwise have. With a variety of fundraisers, support groups and awareness campaigns, patients and survivors are less likely to feel alone in their journey. Empathy and support can make all the difference in the lives of those affected.

Raising awareness also plays a vital role in promoting research and development. Funds generated during this month aim to further develop research, helping medical professionals make breakthroughs in treatment, prevention and early action. 

National solidarity sends the message that we are all in this together and that we stand with those affected by breast cancer, no matter where they are in the world. If you have ever thought about getting involved in your own way, this month is the perfect time to do so, and here’s how:

  • Offer support: Accepting that you need help is hard. If you know someone who is affected by breast cancer in any way, whether it be themselves or a loved one, reach out to them and find out how you can help them in their process. The smallest acts of kindness and support can make the biggest impact.
  • Educate yourself: Anyone and everyone can be affected by cancer in one way or another. Understanding the risks of developing the disease plays a large role in early detection. With a better-educated society comes a greater defense in the fight against breast cancer. 
  • Donate: In directly funding campaigns and/or research initiatives, you are helping to find better methods of prevention and more effective treatment options. The work of researchers heavily relies on donations, of any size, which can have a bigger impact than you may know. 

Inspiring Hope

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to celebrate survivors, honor those who have lost their lives and bring strength to the collective resilience of the community. In actively participating in the spread of support, you contribute to a message of hope and determination, advocating for policy changes, raising funds for research and most importantly, supporting those affected by a devastating disease. In showing your support this month, you are helping to create a better sense of community among women and aid in the fight against breast cancer.

Amanda is a freshman at UNH originally from Massachusetts. She is majoring in communication. In her free time, Amanda loves reading, being outdoors, and spending time with friends.