Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) was begun by AstraZeneca in 1985 (the manufactures of the breast cancer drugs Arimidex and Tmoxifen). In 1991, the Susan G. Koman foundation handed out pink ribbons to its participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors. Two years later, Estee Lauder Companies founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and used the pink ribbon as its symbol. Now, Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is an annual event every October and people hope its effects will last throughout the year. Well, its effects are lasting – leaving us with both the good and the bad consequences.
Yes, I said bad!
Most people think of the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign as a good thing – and it does have its merit. It encourages women to get checked – and check themselves for breast cancer. People have used BCAM to get the message out about the importance of good nutrition, regular exercise, and reducing stress. It has brought more open discussion, lessening the sense of isolation people with breast cancer and their families feel. BCAM has also encouraged donations, not only for research but to help women and their families struggling with this challenging illness.
So what's the problem here? You may think well, the goal of BCAM is to promote mammograms as the most effective tool against breast cancer – something that is more controversial than in years past. And most of us have heard of the side effects of drugs, chemotherapy and radiation. But that just points to the importance of making informed decisions.