Don't like to read?
Besides being known for Halloween, costumes, tricks, and treats, October is also known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The little pink ribbon is used to help spread awareness about this important cause. Breast Cancer Awareness month started in 1985 as a fellowship between the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries and the Cancer Society.
A woman named Betty Ford helped start off the week-long event since she was also a breast cancer survivor herself. When her husband Gerald Ford was elected president, she was diagnosed. As she started to become more into the spotlight so did her breast cancer.
The whole goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to educate women and men about cancer of the breast along with ways they could get tested and take charge of their health. One of the key goals is to achieve and promote mammograms as an important tool to fight against breast cancer.
The little pink ribbon was utilized in 1992 when they were handed out by Estée Lauder cosmetics. They handed out over 1.5 million of them. The ribbons were premiered as an association with breast cancer and became the visual mascot. One of the largest supporters of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the NFL, nearly all coaches, players, and referees wear the pink ribbon during the month of October to show their support.
Cancer of the breast didn’t originally start in the 20th century, scientists traced its origin back to 3000 BC to 400 AD. In 3500-2500 BC, also known as the pyramid age, the Egyptians had texts or evidence of eight different cases describing tumors that were “treated by cauterization with a ‘fire drill.’”
A man named Edwin Smith was believed to have produced a surgical papyrus in the pyramid age. In 460 BC Hippocrates proposed the “Humoral Theory of Medicine” and credited cancer to an excess of some type of black bile. It was believed cancer should be left alone because those who did get the treatment did not live as long as those who were untreated.
Skip ahead to 1713, a man named Bernardo Ramazzini believed that cancer of the breast occurred because of lack of sex. He proposed this theory because he noticed that it was very common among nuns. In 1757, Henri Le Dran suggested that it progressed in stages, he recommended surgery to prevent it from spreading.
In 1896 the discovery of x-rays laid the foundation for mammography, this was founded by William Roentgen. Then in 1962, Robert Egan reported the first successful cases of breast cancer detected using mammography.
The most common forms of cancer of the breast treatments are surgery, Chemotherapy, Hormonal therapy, Biological therapy, and Radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is when doctors use special medicines to kill off cancer cells. The medication can either be in pill form or inserted into the patient’s veins; in some cases both.
Hormonal therapy blocks the hormones that cancer needs to grow. Biological therapy works with the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells or control side effects. Lastly, Radiation Therapy uses high-energy rays, similar to x-rays to kill cancer cells. It’s best to ask a doctor or primary care physician what treatment might be best for someone who has breast cancer.
It’s a very serious illness that is very common in women and is sometimes found in some men. Getting yearly checkups and mammograms, as well as having doctors check for lumps around the breast area is a good way to be sure of not having any issues in the future. Be sure to let the doctor know if there is a family history of breast cancer.
Written by Zaylah De La Torre
Edited by Sheena Robertson
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Is Breast Cancer Treated?
Harvard Countway Library: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.: Breast Cancer Facts
Brevard Health Alliance: A Brief History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Maryland GovPics‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License.
Inset Image Courtesy of Maryland GovPics’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License.