Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also called National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is in October, and was started in 1985 by the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries. The initial purpose of the month was to promote mammograms as the first line of defense against breast cancer. In 1992, Breast Cancer Awareness Month got a marketing makeover when it received what has arguably become one of the most well-known symbols of our generation: the pink ribbon. (Check out the article we wrote on the history of the pink ribbon.) The month has, in recent years, become an international event for many breast cancer related organizations and non-profits to raise funds and promote awareness, research, and education.
How We Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month
During October, the media often does public service announcements reminding women about the importance of breast self-exams, A low dose x-ray picture of the breast that allows a doctor to view glandular tissue and determine the presence of cancer., and clinical breast exams. (Here’s a great breast cancer PSA the Long Island newspaper Newsday did in 2011.)
In addition to breast cancer non-profit events, many businesses, schools, and government agencies organize their own awareness events. Besides our usual year-round breast health education workshops we continue doing in October, The Maurer Foundation is usually part of a number of Long Island and New York City health fairs, both at businesses, school campuses, and community events. Some businesses organize fundraisers that we partner with, like Brasserie 214’s pink drink promotion in 2011. If your business would like to help us in supporting breast cancer awareness and education, check out some of the past fundraising events our creative supporters have come up with and contact us. We’d love to hear your ideas.
Although Breast Cancer Awareness Month tends to get all the limelight in October, there are a few other important events that happen in October.
- National Mammography Day is the third Friday of October
- Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week is the third week of October
- Child Health Day is October 1st
- Make a Difference Day is the fourth Saturday of October
- Mother-in-Law’s Day is the fourth Sunday of October
- Health Literacy Month is October
- Healthy Lung Month is also in October
Needless to say, October is an extremely busy month for us!
How Do You Celebrate October?
It can be a lot of fun to take part in breast cancer walks and attend fundraisers whose proceeds go to promote breast cancer education. But how are you personally celebrating October? Are you turning your breast cancer awareness into breast cancer action? Here are some ways you can take action and make a difference in your life and the ones you love.
- Make an appointment for a mammogram if you are over 40
- Do your monthly breast self-exam
- Set up a reminder system for your monthly breast self-exam and yearly mammogram (or use our free Alarm Clock)
- Quit smoking
- Talk to your kids, siblings, parents and grandparents about your family’s cancer history
- Schedule a clinical breast exam with your primary care doctor or gynecologist
- Start an exercise program
- Pack your kids a healthy lunch (or teach them how to pack their own!)
- Eat an extra serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal
- Talk to your sister, best friend, or mom about getting her mammogram (or go together!)
- Start a garden, for the exercise and fresh organic veggies
- Reduce your alcohol intake, or cut it out completely
- Sign up for an exercise class
- Ask a teacher at your local school to let The Maurer Foundation do a breast health workshop in their class
- If you are overweight, start a new healthy eating plan and lose weight
- Talk to your kids about breast cancer risk factors like smoking and alcohol
- Start a corporate wellness program at your company
- Reduce your portion sizes if you are overweight
- Start a daily family walk tradition
How are you celebrating October? We’d love to hear your ideas!