National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) (also referred to in America as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM)) is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.

As well as providing a platform for breast cancer charities to raise awareness of their work and of the disease, BCAM is also a prime opportunity to remind women to be breast aware for earlier detection.



White House decorated pink in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 2008

NBCAM was founded in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of AstraZeneca, maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs). The aim of the NBCAM from the start has been to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.[1]

In 1993 Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and established the pink ribbon as its symbol, though this was not the first time the ribbon was used to symbolize breast cancer.[2] In the fall of 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation had handed out pink ribbons to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors.[3]

Activities and events

The National Race for the Cure

In October 1983 the Race for the Cure was held for the first time in Dallas, Texas, where 800 people participated. According to the organizers, by 2002 the number of participants reached 1.3 million and the event was held in over 100 US cities. The event is also being organized in several other parts of the World.[4]

Australia and New Zealand Dove Pink Star walk
Germany Komen Frankfurt Race for the Cure
Netherlands Walk for Women
Italy Komen Italia Race for the Cure
United Kingdom Race for my wife and Race for life
Canada Run for the Cure
Hungary Avon One-Day Walk for Life
Puerto Rico Komen Puerto Rico Race for the Cure
Bulgaria Breast Cancer Walk

Breast Cancer Today

There are various two-day-long walks to raise money for breast cancer research institutes. Avon sponsors a 39 mile (60 km) walk.[1] A walk in Atlanta offers varying lengths of up to 30 miles.[2] Canada's large "Weekend to End Breast Cancer" features a 60 km walk.[3]

St. Louis, MO offers a one-day-long breast cancer walk. This walk consists of three miles.


Susan G. Komen 3 Day 'For the Cure'

This sixty mile fundraising walk, which is spread across 3 days, raises money for breast cancer research. This walk, which benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure occurs in several cities in the United States. The Breast Cancer 3-Day was previously sponsored and managed by Avon.

Bulgaria Breast Cancer Walk
Czech Republic Breast Cancer Conference
France 5 km Breast Cancer Race/Walk
Germany Women's 5k/10k Walk Run
Greece Recognition dinner and Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Fashion show
Hungary Walk for Life
Ireland Breast Cancer Walk
Italy Breast cancer Awareness event
Poland Breast Cancer Walk
Portugal Educational walk-a-thon
Romania Breast Cancer Walk
Russia Press conference
Slovakia Press conference
Spain Breast Cancer Walk
Turkey "Trip to Health with Avon" walk
Ukraine Breast Cancer awareness walk
United Kingdom "Celebrating Life" award ceremony

Ride to Empower

The Ride to Empower[6] started in 2008 and raises money for Breast Cancer Network of Strength's programs. The Ride to Empower is a destination bike ride, with fully supported route lengths ranging from a 100 miles to less than 32 miles. The location for the Ride to Empower changes yearly.

Global Illumination

Estée Lauder Companies has arranged to have more than a dozen world-famous landmarks illuminated in pink light to draw attention to the importance of mammography screening for early diagnosis of breast cancer[citation needed] as well as the research for finding ways to cure and prevent breast cancer.[citation needed] Some of these landmarks are:

Tokyo Tower lit up in pink on October 1, 2007 for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The greenhouse of Botanical Garden of Curitiba (Southern Brazil is illuminated in pink during October.
The Harbour Bridge Sydney Australia
The Hangzhou Department Store Hangzhou China
Niagara Falls Ontario Canada
The Eden Project Cornwall England
The Majestic Hotel Cannes France
The French Affiliate Building Paris France
The Angel of Peace Munich Germany
City Hall Reykjavik Iceland
Azrieli Towers Tel Aviv Israel
Constantine's Arch Rome Italy
The Arena Verona Italy
Tokyo Tower Tokyo Japan
Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College Miami, FL USA
W Atlanta - Buckhead Hotel Atlanta, GA USA
W Atlanta - Midtown Hotel Atlanta, GA USA
W Atlanta - Downtown Hotel Atlanta, GA USA
W Atlanta - Perimeter Hotel Atlanta, GA USA
City Hall Square Seoul Korea
The Dam Square Amsterdam The Netherlands
The Skytower Auckland New Zealand
The Empire State Building New York, NY USA

Pink days

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October, people raise money by organizing activities such as theme parties[7] or a "pink day" (when employees wear pink clothing or accessories) at work. The money raised is donated to the organizers' choice of breast cancer care or research programs.

National Football League

During the month of October, the National Football League promotes breast cancer awareness by incorporating pink on its websites, graphics, and advertisements. Players also show support by wearing pink gloves, cleats, captains patches, and other apparel during games.

Pink comic strips

Over 50 comic strip artists used pink on October 10, 2010, using the pink ribbon with the words "Cartoonists Care". King Features Syndicate inspired the plan.[8]

Male breast cancer

Male breast cancer, which is rare, is generally overlooked. In 2009 the male breast cancer advocacy groups Out of the Shadow of Pink, A Man's Pink, and the Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer in Men joined together to globally establish the third week of October as "Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week"[9]


Corporate Sponsorship

It has been alleged that "the BCAM idea 'was conceived and paid for by a British chemical company that both profits from this epidemic and may be contributing to its cause...'".[10]

Sometimes referred to as National Breast Cancer Industry Month, critics of NBCAM point to a conflict of interest between corporations sponsoring breast cancer awareness while profiting from diagnosis and treatment. The breast cancer advocacy organization, Breast Cancer Action, has said repeatedly in newsletters and other information sources that October has become a public relations campaign that avoids discussion of the causes and prevention of breast cancer and instead focuses on “awareness” as a way to encourage women to get their mammograms. The term pinkwashing has been used by Breast Cancer Action to describe the actions of companies which manufacture and use chemicals which show a link with breast cancer and at the same time publicly support charities focused on curing the disease.[11] Other criticisms center on the marketing of "pink products" and tie ins, citing that more money is spent marketing these campaigns than is donated to the cause.[12]

Cure as "Treatment" vs. "Prevention"

The Cancer Prevention Coalition has criticized the basic message of NBCAM as a form of victim blaming because it focuses on "early detection and treatment" while ignoring environmental factors.[13] According Aaron Blair, Ph.D., chief of the Occupational Epidemiology Branch in National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, For breast cancer, hormone use is one of the major factors affecting risk.[14] According to Rose Marie Williams, a columnist for the Townsend Letter, drug, chemical, and biotechnology companies have a vested interest in treating the disease rather than finding ways to minimize its rate of incidence.[15] Recent studies show that breast cancer is linked to several environmental and genetic factors which can be controlled or mitigated.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Official National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) Frequenlty Asked Questions
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Susan G. Komen for the Cure website. Retrieved November 9, 2007.
  5. ^ "2011 Making Strides Agains Breast Cancer". Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ Breast Cancer Network of Strength Ride to Empower
  7. ^ Baker, Sandra. "The Artful Bras Project". Retrieved 2009-03-14. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Comic strips go pink for breast-cancer awareness". Richmond Times-Dispatch. 2010-10-10. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  9. ^ "Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week". Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  10. ^ Janette D. Sherman, M.D.(New York and London: Taylor and Francis, 2000). ISBN 1-56032-870-3. Life's Delicate Balance THE CANCER MOVEMENT: Independent, Sold-Out, or Bought Up? .
  11. ^ Focus on Pinkwashers, Breast Cancer Action's think before you pink campaign site. Retrieved November 9, 2007.
  12. ^ Who's Really Cleaning Up Here Breast Cancer Action's think before you pink campaign site. Retrieved November 9, 2007.
  13. ^ Chemical Industry Funds Breast Cancer Campaign, Cancer Prevention Coalition website. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
  14. ^ The Majority of Cancers Are Linked to the Environment, National Cancer Institute website, June 4, 2004.
  15. ^ Rose Marie Williams Breast cancer and xenoestrogens, Findarticles reprint of Townsend Letter, November 2004 article.
  16. ^ Nancy Evans (Ed.) State of the Evidence 2006

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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