Examen, test, save the chest

BUCKHANNON — Upshur County Commission proclaimed October 2022 as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Upshur County at their meeting held on Thursday, September 29, to coincide with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It was developed as a way to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer. And those little pink ribbons used to be peach. Keep reading for more on the history and importance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

Breast Cancer Awareness began in 1985 as a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and a pharmaceutical company of Imperial Chemical Industries, which was later a part of AstraZeneca. When it was founded in 1985, breast cancer awareness was a week-long event in October. Now, the event is promoted the whole month of October by nonprofit organizations, government agencies and medical societies.

Charlotte Haley created the first breast cancer ribbon. Haley began making peach-colored breast cancer ribbons in her dining room. Haley included a postcard on each that read, “The National Cancer Institute’s annual budget is $1.8 billion, only five percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.” The success of Haley’s ribbons would lead to the development of the pink ribbon known today.

It was reported by bcaction.org that as Haley’s ribbons and message spread, companies, including Estee Lauder, wanted to work with Haley to brand a ribbon to breast cancer. Haley denied working with them citing too “corporate and commercial.” Estee Lauder’s legal counsel suggested changing the color from peach to pink to avoid legal action and claimed that by switching the color, “permission to use Haley’s idea wasn’t necessary.”

Estee Lauder led the first nation-wide campaign that utilized the pink ribbon in 1992. According to brevardhealth.org, “They handed out an impressive 1.5 million of them and ushered in the pink ribbon as the premier visual reminder of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The NFL has become one of the largest supporters of breast cancer awareness month and nearly all players, coaches and referees don the pink ribbon each October to show their support.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common among American women. Please see the Fast Facts About Breast Cancer below as noted by the CDC. 

• Each year in the United States, about 264,000 women get breast cancer and 42,000 women die from the disease.

• Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. About one out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States is found in a man.

• Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women.

CDC also provided a summary of symptoms of breast cancer but says that some people may have no symptoms. 

• Any change in the size or the shape of the breast

• Pain in any area of the breast

• Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood)

• A new lump in the breast or underarm

The CDC recommends if you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.

There are also ways to help lower the risk which include but is not limited to the following described by the CDC.

• Keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly.

• Choose not to drink alcohol or drink alcohol in moderation.

• If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, ask your doctor about the risks.

• Breastfeed your children, if possible.

The CDC also says, “Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. And, if you are worried about the cost to CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers free or low-cost mammograms to women who have low incomes and are uninsured or underinsured.” Visit https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/screenings.htm to find a screening program near you.

“Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, science forums, educational programs and informational pamphlets and posters are used as means to disseminate information to the public. A number of special events are held as well, including National Mammogram Day in the United States, which focuses on the importance of screening and early detection of breast cancer. In addition, fund-raising activities, such as walks, runs, auctions, concerts and other charity events, are held in countries around the world. The money collected by these events typically goes toward local, national or international funding for breast cancer research. Scientific conferences and meetings of international cancer organizations also may be scheduled in conjunction with awareness campaigns,” as stated by brittanica.com.

The Upshur County Relay for Life is one of the most notable local organizations. Their next event is a Relay for Life Halloween Fundraiser, which will be held on Saturday, October 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. It will take place at A.F. Wendling at 100 Wendling Plaza Drive right here in Buckhannon. The event will have a free kid’s costume contest, a pet costume contest ($5 entry fee), adult costume contest ($5 entry fee), concessions, games for kids ($0.50 per game), pumpkin decorating contest (free with purchase), 50/50 drawing for adults and temporary tattoos ($0.50). There will also be free trunk or treating. If your organization would like to set up, please e-mail [email protected]


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