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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month


This October will host the annual National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, once again in an effort to raise awareness about the condition and to reduce the attached stigma that comes for women with breast cancer. The event mobilizes patients, family members, supporters and news makers from all over the world, in a joint effort to put an end to the silence and address this big medical and social problem with a louder voice.

As there is still no permanent cure for cancer, the awareness movement wants to raise its hand again and ask for extended funds, aiming to improve our understanding of breast cancer, stimulate the development of more efficient screening campaigns and improved treatment methods. The main engine of the campaign is that extended knowledge and increased awareness on the subject will lead to earlier detection of breast cancer cases. In turn, this will lead to higher long-term survival rates and improved lives for all the families impoverished by the drama of fighting breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month uses as symbol probably the most famous and popular flag off all the awareness movements organized across the years – the pink ribbon. Pink is a color compressing all the meaning of being a woman. The symbol comes in high contrast with the debilitating effects that breast cancer can produce, both psychical and psychological. The disease can be considered especially debilitating because it targets one of the bastions of woman sexuality. The side effect of the pink ribbon increased popularity is that companies want to include it in their marketing campaigns, having their eyes set not on the benefits brought to the awareness and fund raising campaign, but more on their personal gain by attaching their brand to something which is so powerful. Nevertheless, everyone is entitled to use the pink ribbon as a clear message that they are supporting the cause and those who fight breast cancer. Although pink is probably not on their agenda in terms of accepted colors, man can also use this opportunity to show their support.


There is a current debate on whether the forces involved in the battle against breast cancer focus their forces on early detection and treatment, or if they should try to prevent new cases to appear, by isolating the true causes behind this explosion of cancer cases we are witnessing in the last decades. Many voices consider the fight is currently kept on the wrong battlefield, ignoring very probable non-genetic causes for breast cancer, like pollution of the environment, ultra-processed foods, and our modern lifestyle, based on speed and the urge to be battle time. Nevertheless, proving that certain substances are responsible for breast cancer is an ongoing battle, although a popular alternative idea is that big corporations are trying to impose a cover-up on the subject. Last, but not least, the idea that cancer is a way for our body to dramatically oppose changes in alimentation and lifestyle in general, pops-out as a surprise candidate.

Currently, screening mammography is promoted as the sole possible approach to public health for breast cancer. The current practices recommends regular check-ups, in oppose to a still popular belief that having such a disease is a shame and should be kept under the rug. The problem of ignoring the early signs of breast cancer and making early screenings a habit for women is on the first page of the awareness movement held each year. Although breast cancer cases are currently being held under control in countries where equality between the sexes is a battle won long ago, there are still societies around the world where being a women makes you a second degree citizen. Thus, the stage is set for problems regarding women solely to be ignored or regarded as less stringent. We should not be fooled by statistics reporting fewer cases in undeveloped countries and in countries where freedom of speech and women rights are not on the public agenda. Breast cancer is signal that every society should rally around its real problems in an effort to find a better solution and reduce the overall amount of suffering.



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