Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022 - Think Before You Pink!

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October can feel different for each of us — some wear pink to celebrate, some quietly observe the month, some feel grief, and some feel unseen or misunderstood. 

We want to normalize it all. Here’s what you need to know about Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held in October every year, was created in 1985 to promote screening and prevention of the disease, which affects one in eight women in the United States every year and 2.3 million women worldwide. 
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022 -  Think Before You Pink!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2022 -  Think Before You Pink!
Known best for its pink theme color, the month features a number of campaigns and programs — conducted by groups ranging from breast cancer advocacy organizations to local community organizations to major retailers — aimed at:
  1. Supporting people diagnosed with breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer
  2. Educating people about breast cancer risk factors.
  3. Stressing the importance of regular screening, starting at age 40 or an age that’s appropriate for your personal breast cancer risk.
  4. Fundraising for breast cancer researchF

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

October 13 is nationally recognized in the United States as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. About 30% of early-stage breast cancers eventually metastasize (spread to parts of the body away from the breast), and the day is intended to drive awareness to the need for more research about metastatic disease. 

Men’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week

Although breast cancer is much more common in women, breast cancer affects men, too. In 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden designated October 17 to October 23 Men’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week. About 2,710 American men this year are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and about 530 are expected to die from the disease. But lack of awareness and stigma can be barriers to detection and care. Some men, trans men, and non-binary people choose to call their cancer chest cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month controversy

Although many people feel supported by the month’s events, activities, and pink merchandise, others — especially those diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — intensely dislike Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The ubiquitous pink ribbons and celebratory atmosphere can seem like a distraction from the very real need for greater understanding about the disease and more research leading to better treatments. 

Many people are also offended by what’s become known as pinkwashing — companies using pink ribbons to promote products or services that may actually increase the risk of breast cancer, or sponsoring pink-ribbon promotions that raise large sums of money with only a small portion going to breast cancer research or supporting people during their breast cancer treatment. 

Think Before You Pink is a campaign designed to improve awareness of pinkwashing and to help people donate in the most effective way to the cause.

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