Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 16 15:03 2019 Print This Article

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), also known 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.

NBCAM was founded in 1985 in October as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now part of AstraZeneca, producer 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.

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: a 68-year-old California woman named Charlotte Haley, whose sister, daughter and granddaughter had breast cancer, had distributed peach-color ribbons to call attention to what she perceived as inadequate funding for research. 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.

Since the adoption of wearing a pink ribbon by breast cancer survivors running in the 1990 New York marathon and the subsequent formation of a charity which aims to give 90% of the money it raises to the support of scientific research and public awareness of the disease, millions of dollars have been donated.

The New York-based charity Pink Ribbon Inc. promotes Breast Cancer Awareness Month where like-minded, affiliated international groups participate in fundraising using the pink ribbon motif. The sponsors are encouraged to use the pink theme and it’s not unusual to see municipal fountains gushing with suitably colored displays.