For the last couple of years the colour pink has become associated with the month of October, with landmarks worldwide illuminated with pink, and many organisations and companies changing their logo on their social media profiles to add a pink background or a pink ribbon on the side, usually accompanied with #breastcancerawareness, #pinkoctober or #faceyourfear.
But what is this actually all about?
Pink October, formally known as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is an international health campaign organised by breast cancer charities in order to raise awareness on breast cancer, educate people on how to check for warning signs and symptoms, highlight the importance of early screening, and help increase donations from the general public for support groups to continue aiding those affected, and even raise funds for worldwide research groups which aim to find causes, prevention cures and treatments for this disease.
What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
Most cases of breast cancer occur in women above the age of 50. However, not everyone is the same. Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer, with many of those affected never showing symptoms visible without a professional screening.
A monthly self-exam usually helps more easily identify any unusual changes in your breasts. Some changes to watch out for include:
- Lumps or thickening areas in or near the breast or underarm area
- Unexplained change in size/shape of the breast
- Dimpling anywhere on the breast
- The skin of the breast that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting
- Milky discharge when not breastfeeding
For more signs and symptoms check out nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-symptoms-and-signs. Please keep in mind that other ailments can cause these symptoms to appear, consult a doctor for professional and personal advice. In Malta, breast screening is offered to all women between 50 and 69 every two and a half years. More information about local screening programme can be found on the government health website deputyprimeminister.gov.mt/Screening-Programmes/Breast-Screening.aspx, email on email@example.com, or call 2122 7470/1.
The Downside of Trends
The popularity of this campaign has grown significantly over the last couple of years, with many companies deciding to take part by either promising that profit from particular products are donated, or creating/sponsoring charity events where the donations go to support groups or research. However, some companies have caught on to the pattern of increased income in October after marketing themselves as pink and promising these donations. Although this isn’t bad in on itself, severely limiting the actual donations by adding terms in the fine print in order to get the profit even higher is.
An infamous example of this is Eureka, a company which manufactures vacuums that used to widely advertise a “Clean for the Cure” ad where 1 dollar per 200-dollar purchase would go to a breast cancer organisation. They ever limited their company’s contribution at a maximum of $250,000 yearly in the fine print.
So, before buying that product that’s slightly more expensive but has a pink ribbon on the side, look up the company and see what percentage of the sale is going for the cause, and which organisation or group its going to. If you’re thinking of taking part in a marathon, look up, or ask, if all the proceeds will actually go for the cause.
For more information on pink-washing, go to thinkbeforeyoupink.org.
How can I help?
Action for Breast Cancer Foundation
The Action for Breast Cancer Foundation is a local voluntary organisation that campaigns for breast cancer awareness and lobbies for quality assured service in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in Malta and Gozo.
More information on actionforbreastcancer.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 27036529 / 77771806
Donate by Cheque
Action for Breast Cancer Foundation
42, Triq Guzeppi Cali
Mosta MST 4142
Donate by Bank Transfer
St. Andrew’s Road,
Account Name: The Action for Breast Cancer Foundation
Account Number: 009071192001
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is a non-profit organisation which aims to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer, by providing funding for breast cancer research groups worldwide to fuel the advancement towards better treatment and survivorship.
More information on bcrf.org or email email@example.com
Cancer research uk
Cancer Research UK is the leading independent cancer research charity. Its main aim is to reduce the number of deaths from cancer and therefore conducts research into prevention, diagnosis and treatment of several cancers.
More information on cancerresearchuk.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
cancerresearchuk.org/get-involved/donate and choose ‘Breast Cancer’ if you want your donation to be specifically given to breast cancer research initiatives.
Breast cancer now
Breast Cancer Now is a research and care charity that aims to aid everyone who develops breast cancer to continue living well. They also fund the most impactful research in breast cancer prevention, early testing and diagnosis, and treatment.
More information on breastcancernow.org
Breast Cancer Action
Breast Cancer Action (BCACTION) is an American activist watchdog organisation that aims to address the root causes of breast cancer and produce public health benefits to ensure that fewer women develop breast cancer and die from breast cancer and no community bears and disproportionate burden of diagnosis or death from this disease.
More information on bcaction.org
Obviously there are many more organisations that one can donate to in order to help the cause, so if you aren’t convinced by any of the above, look a few up online and see which organisation can make the most of your contribution.
Written by: Nathan Portelli
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