Think Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month from 1st to 31st October. Here’s our latest blog all about this important campaign – and how you can (and should) get involved. 

As we roll headlong into Autumn and the nights draw in, our thoughts turn to all those lovely seasonal things we associate with the changing season.  Thicker jumpers, kicking up leaves on country walks, hearty autumnal casseroles and Strictly Come Dancing – of course.  But also, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, considered so important in our annual awareness calendar that it has a whole 31 days devoted to it.

And quite right, too.  Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in developed and developing countries.  Nearly all of us will know or meet someone whose life has been touched by this dreadful disease.

What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

This is an annual event and it’s a big one.  Marked on a truly international scale, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrating its 34th anniversary this year. There are literally thousands of organisations taking part all over the world, including, naturally, our home-grown charities such as Cancer Research, Breast Cancer UK and Breast Cancer Care.

You can read more about Breast Cancer UK, here:

And Breast Cancer Care here:

Those lovely people at Cancer Research have even put together an A-Z guide with some ideas about how to raise awareness and funds.  Some are sensible, others a bit crazy and mad, but why not?  It’s fun and it makes people stop and think.  And, let’s be honest, human lives are at stake here:

By the way, even buying and proudly sporting your pink ribbon will help, so do encourage your friends and family to get involved if you can.  You’ll find the ribbons everywhere, mostly at shop tills or in charity shops.  Some are a bit more upmarket: solid posh, sparkly brooches so if you like a bit of bling that’s rather good.

Thinking Pink

Everyone and everything turns pink in October!

Pink?  Yes, the “signature” campaign colour is bright pink, so you won’t miss any fund-raisers you see out and about.

Breast Cancer.  Here’s Where We Are

On a more serious note, did you know that there are about 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths from breast cancer each year (IARC Globocan, 2008)?  Here at Carers’ Support, we think this is a horrendous statistic.  Why?  Because we’ve been doing some research. The sobering fact is that if breast cancer is detected early, diagnosed correctly and if treatment is available, there’s a very good chance that it can be cured.  Completely.

This is a big subject, but…

It goes without saying that the longer a woman goes without diagnosis or treatment, the less likely she is to survive.  (Incidentally, we say “she”, but men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s a much smaller number, but it still happens).

Most diagnoses happen in women who are over 50, but not always.  The majority of deaths  worldwide occur in low or middle-income countries, proving that a lack of awareness and poor access to health services is a major part of the problem.

More worrying is that doctors still don’t know the exact causes of breast cancer so a great deal more research is needed.

On a Personal Note

If you’re caring for someone with breast cancer who wasn’t reached in time, you’ll know how hard it is to watch someone you love fade away.  Our very best thoughts and wishes go out to you.  Don’t forget that we’re here for you so do reach out to us.

Also, if you’re going through breast cancer yourself, everyone here at Carers Support offers you a big virtual hug via the internet.

Breast Cancer.  Let’s Get a Little Explicit

A lump in the breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer.  Do you check your breasts regularly?  If not, we’d urge you to do so. Here’s an easy to read guide:

Also, don’t forget that the NHS will call all you ladies out there to regular breast screenings, so look out for that letter in the post.

Think about your health, too – and your lifestyle.  Some top tips:

Cut down on alcohol.  Sorry, but that extra glass of wine (or two) could be increasing your breast cancer risk.

Stop smoking.  Of course.  But stop smoking anyway.

Exercise.  Get moving, get up out of your chair and walk. Today.

Control your weight.  Being overweight has implications for health problems later in life and particularly after the menopause.

The above are the main risk factors – or so we think – but of course, leading a perfectly healthy life vs. a “riskier” one may or may not increase our likelihood of developing breast cancer.  The fact is, we need more education and better all-round knowledge of the causes of cancer and to do that, we need more money.

We need awareness campaigns like Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And, we all need each other.  So, are YOU thinking pink this month?