If you hadn’t heard, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with 31 days dedicated to promoting the importance of continued research, early detection, and prevention. It is an opportunity to honor friends and family members who are survivors, support those currently fighting breast cancer, and solemnly remember those we have lost to this disease.
In South African women, breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases. It is the most prevalent cancer in Asian and white women and the second most for women of color, making this a high priority for research and awareness.
Enter Breast Cancer Awareness month. This movement is critical to galvanize communities worldwide and bring this disease to our collective attention. Its positive messaging consistently helps raise awareness, reduce stigma, and fund more research to save lives.
How Did Breast Cancer Awareness Month Get Started?
In 1985, Breast Cancer Awareness Month began as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries. This company is the sole manufacturer of Tamoxifen, the world’s top-selling cancer drug used for breast cancer.
Former American first lady Betty Ford kicked off the original week-long event, speaking as a breast cancer survivor herself. She had received her diagnosis while her husband, Gerald Ford, was still in office as President of the United States, and her advocacy helped bring attention to the event and make it a success.
What Are the Goals of Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
During October, survivors and those currently living with breast cancer are celebrated and encouraged to share their stories in the hopes of motivating others. These stories help to humanize the need to promote mammograms, raise funds for research, and make the public more aware of breast cancer’s signs, symptoms, and risk factors.
Anyone, regardless of sex, race, or creed, can be affected by cancer. But as Breast Cancer Awareness Month teaches us, educating yourself and knowing your personal risks can go a long way toward early diagnosis and detection. Embracing awareness tips such as knowing your family history, performing preventative self-exams, having mammograms, and living a healthy lifestyle increases your chances of early detection and survival.
In particular, conducting monthly self-breast exams and yearly mammograms are key to early detection. The earlier cancer is detected, the earlier treatment can begin, resulting in a much higher survival rate. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many places offer discounts and deals on mammograms during October, so take the first step and schedule one today. And don’t forget to encourage your loved ones to do the same — spreading this awareness to family and friends is part of the battle.
How to Participate and Show Your Support
The pink ribbon campaign is one of the most recognizable awareness efforts on the planet. Ever since Estée Lauder cosmetics handed out 1.5 million of these iconic ribbons in 1992, the color pink and breast cancer awareness have become synonymous. Now, you can wear pink as a way to show support to patients and survivors.
Surprisingly, America’s National Football League (NFL) is currently one of the largest supporters of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every October, players, coaches, and referees wear the pink ribbon and add pink to their uniforms to show their support.
Help Out a Cancer Patient
If you know someone battling breast cancer, you can find ways to make their life easier without them having to ask. Offer to drive them to appointments, prepare meals, or walk their dog. These seemingly simple acts can make a huge difference.
If you don’t know anyone directly affected, you can also reach out to local organizations or chemo wards to donate clothing, scarves, hats, and blankets for patients.
Fund Research Initiatives Directly
Besides early detection, breast cancer research is one of the most critical parts of decreasing diagnoses and deaths. You can make a difference by donating personally or by involving your community in raising money by hosting raffles, playing sports, having auctions, and more.
Investigate Where Your Donated Money is Going
Finding prevention methods, more effective treatment options, and even a cure are primary goals for the money raised throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And it’s perhaps no surprise that, compared to the rest of the year, October is when the most financial donations are made. These critical donations provide scientists and researchers like those at The National Foundation for Cancer Research with the funds they need to continue making strides against breast cancer.
But some unscrupulous companies, organizations, and retailers come out of the woodwork during October to use breast cancer awareness as a marketing ploy. Before donating, be sure to find out exactly where the money is going and what it will be used for.
Participate in the PinkDrive
Promoting the message that “early detection will help prolong a life,” PinkDrive NPC was founded in 2009. The goal? To prevent as many South Africans as possible from succumbing to breast, cervical, prostate, and testicular cancers. Its primary focus is on individuals who reside in areas without access to health services and reasonable care.
PinkDrive uses mobile point-of-contact service delivery by skilled, certified medical and nursing practitioners. They drive out to remote areas where they are needed most and perform clinical breast exams, mammograms, pap smears, and prostate checks. Besides conducting exams, they promote health education and awareness of gender-related cancers in South Africa, primarily to underprivileged and medically uninsured citizens.
PinkDrive patients who can afford services are charged a nominal amount, which helps fund the same benefits to those who cannot afford them. Visit their website to see how donating to the PinkDrive provides more exams and awareness across the country.
Cancer Insurance with Aynjil
Cancer insurance is a type of insurance specific to South Africa that works in conjunction with the health insurance you already have. At Aynjil, our insurance product has no fine print, no ambiguous clauses, and is priced as economically as possible.
We offer specialized cancer insurance benefits at the best possible premiums with an easy, 4-minute online sign-up process. We are the first choice for cancer insurance in South Africa based on our unmatched experience, price, and value.
And we understand that the costs of cancer treatment go far beyond diagnosis and treatment. At Aynjil, we are also concerned with your emotional care, lifestyle needs, and overall wellbeing.
Right now, you can also benefit from Aynjil’s pre-launch offer. Visit our website and register your interest in one of our insurance policies to get 50% off your first three premiums when you sign up for cover.
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