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October Pink Ribbons National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Last updated 10/31/2023

Have you seen the latest facts and statistics for breast cancer? According to the Breast Cancer Organization, the United States sees around 30% of all new cases concerning women each year. October pink ribbons for breast cancer.

It’s the season when pink ribbons and other pink items are abundant. They are for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month here in the US. Furthermore there are a number of fund raisers to participate in. So remind your BFF to do a self-exam and schedule that mammogram (if she hasn’t already).

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Breast Anatomy

Let’s begin with the basics. Your breast (aka mammary glands) consists of mainly fat cells (adipose tissue). Located at the collarbone across the underarm centering with your ribcage. The breast contains overlying tissue on the chest (pectoralis muscles). Further how much fat you have in your breast determines its size.

Within the breast are 15 to 20 sections, known as lobes. These are divided into smaller areas called lobules (resemble bunches of grapes) and this is where milk is made. In short milk travels by a path of tiny tubes known as ducts. And unfortunately lobules and ducts are usually where cancer will form.

As these ducts link and join with larger ducts, they eventually exit through the skin of your nipple. That is to say the darker area of skin bordering the nipple is the areola. Sensation of the breast is through the nerves. In conclusion you will discover blood vessels, lymph vessels and lymph nodes.

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What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a form of cancer that begins in the breast. Thus, it could be one or both breasts. Cancer develops as cells begin to grow out of control. Further, it occurs mainly in women, but men can get breast cancer, as well.

However, understand that often breast lumps are benign and not cancer (malignant). Non-cancer breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they won’t go further outside of the breast. These are not life threatening, but certain forms of benign breast lumps can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Often symptoms may not be noticed until they are severe. They can vary according to the location and type. Therefore, if there is a shift of any kind, breast lump or change, have it checked out.

Symptoms can include:

  • A lump in the breast or armpit feeling different
  • Breast shape, size or appearance has altered, for instance dimpled
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Rash on breast skin
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple is inverted or going inward
  • Scaling, peeling, or flaking skin especially of the areola
  • Redness and/or pitting of the breast skin, similar to an orange

What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Let’s take a glance at how it all embarked.

October Pink Ribbons Roots

It began in 1985 as a partnership connecting the American Cancer Society with the pharmaceutical part of the Imperial Chemical Industries. In addition, Betty Ford a survivor of breast cancer was there to assist the weeklong event.

While her husband, Gerald Ford, was the United States President, she was diagnosed. This in turn added more attention to breast cancer.

October Pink Ribbons Goal

At the launch the goal of breast cancer awareness month was aimed at educating women about breast cancer. As well as providing early detection test to be in control of their breast health. Above all the major goal was in promoting mammograms as the main tool to utilize in the breast cancer fight.

October and Pink Ribbons

As for the pink ribbon Evelyn H. Lauder (Estee Lauder cosmetics) helped create the pink ribbon in 1992. The beauty company handed out an impressive 1.5 million. Thus introducing this visual reminder.

She recognized an immediate demand to spotlight this worldwide health issue. Furthermore she revealed the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. After that the pink ribbon became the symbol for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Subsequently, breast cancer was still considered a taboo subject then. For those dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis and having treatment little was discussed. In addition, not understanding the care required.

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Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

In the United States October 13 is recognized nationally as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. With early-stage breast cancers some 30% eventually spread to other areas of the body other than the breast. Therefore, the day is intended to raise awareness of the need for more research about metastatic disease concerning breast cancer.

How Common is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the world. That being said it accounts for about 12.5% per year of all new cancer cases worldwide.

And in the U.S. close to 13% of women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their life. During 2023, an expected estimation of 297,790 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S.  In addition, this includes 55,720 new cases of DCIS.

On the other hand, expect an estimated 2,800 new cases with invasive breast cancer being diagnosed in men. A man’s risk of breast cancer in his lifetime is around 1 in 833.

Presently, in the United States there are over 4 million women who have a history with breast cancer. For example, the women currently being treated and those who have completed their treatment.

Did You Know?

Incidence rates in the U.S. for breast cancer began going down in 2000. These had been increasing for the previous two decades. Further, the drop was 7% from 2002 to 2003.

A theory for this decline partially has to do with the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) having a reduce use by women. Results were published of a large study from the Women’s Health Initiative in 2002. Most importantly, the study mentioned a link between HRT and a higher breast cancer risk.

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Breast Cancer Differences with Race and Ethnicity

Black women are more likely to die due to breast cancer versus other racial or ethnic groups. From reports around 1 in 5 Black women have triple-negative breast cancer, compared to any other racial or ethnic group. Above all, for Black and Hispanic women breast cancer in the United States is the main cause of cancer-related death.

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, after lung cancer, for the following women:

  • Asian
  • Pacific Islander
  • American Indian
  • Alaska Native
  • White

Ashkenazi Jewish women notice a higher risk for breast cancer due to an increased rate of BRCA mutations.

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Risk Factors that can’t be Changed

Gender and Getting Older

Most importantly, being a woman and aging is a big influence. In other words, breast cancer is diagnosed in women 50 or older.

If you’re trans or non-binary, it’s essential to talk with your physician concerning your personal risk level. So, a decision can be agreed on for your screening that makes sense for you.

Around 85% of breast cancers happen in women with no family history of it. As a result, the aging process and basically life are the cause for these genetic mutations, other than inherited genes.

Links to Gene Mutations

Some 5%-10% of breast cancers have a connection to known gene mutations passed down from the mother or father. Further, the most common mutations are BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Lifetime Risk

On average, during their lifetime women with BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% risk for breast cancer. And those with a BRCA2 mutation have a risk close to 69%. Positive BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations for breast cancer are usually noticed more with younger women. In addition, there is a risk for increased ovarian cancer being associated with these gene mutations.

Reproductive History

Two situations raising your risk that exposed you to these hormones longer:

  • Starting your menstrual cycle before turning 12
  • Entering menopause later than age 55

Gene Mutations in Men

BRCA2 mutations in men are linked with a lifetime risk of breast cancer around 6.8%. On the other hand, BRCA1 mutations are not a common cause for breast cancer in men.

Dense Breast

If you haven’t already, question your doctor or mammogram technician on your breast tissue.  Further because of more connective tissue it’s difficult to spot tumors.

Personal History

You already had breast cancer once or specific non-cancerous diseases of the breast. This fashions you more likely to be diagnosed a second time. Most importantly atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ is linked to an increase for getting breast cancer.

Family History

Your breast cancer risk can double if these family members had breast cancer or ovarian cancer:

  • Mother
  • Sister
  • Daughter (first-degree relative)
  • More than one family member on your mother’s or father’s side

In addition, your risk also increases if you have a first-degree male relative with breast cancer.

Radiation Therapy Treatment

Previous radiation therapy, involving the chest or breast (for example, Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment) prior to age 30 is a risk. So, this increases your chances for getting breast cancer later in life.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES)

In the United States 1940-1971 it was common practice for women to take diethylstilbestrol. Some pregnant women were given this to prevent miscarriage. That is to say this puts you at higher risk also if your mother took this drug while pregnant with you.

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Risk Factors that can be Changed

Not Being Active

Subsequently if you are not exercising or being physically active this increases your risk for getting breast cancer.

Overweight or Obese after Menopause

As we age, we may put on some extra weight. Not only is this not good it can increase your risk for breast cancer compared to those at a normal weight.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Both estrogen and progesterone prescribed during menopause raises the risk for breast cancer if you are using over five years. Furthermore some oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have also been detected to raise breast cancer risk.


Concerning pregnancy if you had your first child after age 30 and didn’t breastfeed. And those not having a full-term pregnancy are at higher risk for breast cancer.


The more alcohol drinks you have the higher your risk for breast cancer according to studies.

Along with:

  • Smoking
  • Exposure to cancer causing chemicals
  • Working a night shift changing your hormones
her pink hat says hope as she hugs another Susan G. Komen participant susan-g-komen-3-day-5S1S3MtQVyQ-unsplash october pink ribbons

Prevention for Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Vaccine

Dr. Tuohy from the Cleveland Clinic organized a vaccine trail with 16 women in 2021.

Eat Healthy

Above all leafy greens, fatty fish, citrus fruits, beans, can help reduce breast cancer risk (as well as other diseases).

Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is important. If you desire to lose extra pounds yoga can help. Query your doctor about reducing your calories or doing a detox.

Get Moving

Taking a walk or working on a project means you’re physically active. As a result, these guides maintaining weight (and prevents breast cancer).


Above all don’t forget and remind other females (men) to do their self-breast exam monthly. In addition be seen for a mammogram if required.

Wrapping it up

Many pink ribbons are seen in October for National Breast Cancer Awareness. This health campaign has roots and goals. Certainly a healthy lifestyle prevents the disease.

There are risk factors that can’t be changed such as those that are inherited. In addition, risk factors that can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Men don’t have breast as we do even though rare, they can develop breast cancer.


Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.

Researching content: Breast Cancer Facts and Statistics, Breast Cancer Org, accessed 10/05/2023 What Is Breast Cancer?, American Cancer Society, accessed 10/05/2023 What is Breast Cancer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed 10/05/2023 Breast Cancer Ribbon, National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc., accessed 10/05/2023 History of the Pink Ribbon, Breast Cancer Action, accessed 10/05/2023 This Is What Breast Cancer Activism Looked Like Before the Pink Ribbon, Time, accessed 10/05/2023 Brevard Health Alliance, accessed 10/05/2023




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