What color is the bra you are wearing?
A few years ago, women posting seemingly random colors puzzled the social networks. Later, it was found that it was a campaign for breast cancer awareness, and that those colors represent the color of the bra that the women are wearing.
It was certainly effective, but today, let us tackle the details.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women worldwide. Although numbers vary greatly, as many as 99 per 100,000 women suffer from this in the United States.
It is, however, treatable. It has an 80% survival rate in North America, Sweden, and Japan. For middle-income countries, the survival rate is around 60%, but it gets as low as 40% for low-income countries.
The low survival rates in low-income countries can be attributed to the lack of funding and resources to help early detection, which is where the awareness campaign kicks in.
There are ways to detect breast cancer early on, but each woman is responsible for herself in these matters. Mammography screening is an effective method for detection and can reduce mortality by 20% to 30% in high-income countries. In case you don’t know what a mammography is, it is an x-ray examination of the breast, which may help detect the cancer in its early stages.
Breast self examination or BSE does not have evident screening effects, but it is an effective way to empower women by being responsible for their health, and is recommended for raising awareness for and among women.
Do not automatically panic when you feel a lump or mass in your breasts, though, because it is a normal hormonal response before you get your period. If it doesn’t go away, then it’s time to see your doctor just for caution.
Although rare, men can also be affected with breast cancer, which is why they too should be part of the awareness campaign.
Anyone can get breast cancer, it occurs more on older people than on younger ones. In the UK, about 81% of breast cancers occur in women over 50.
Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy as a precaution because her mother died of breast cancer. Kudos to her for taking charge of her body, but breast cancer happens by chance and less than 10% of breast cancer parents inherited it through faulty genes. If you are worried about the family history and wondering whether or not you have greater chances of eventually having it, you should speak to your general practitioner.
Breast size has no significance in the game of chance for developing breast cancer because it is the type that does not discriminate. Whether you can barely fit into a Cup A or had a hard time squeezing into Double Ds, you may still be affected.
So be aware of the risks, and be responsible for your body.
Ayala Center Cebu has an “Adopt a Pink Person” Campaign. For PhP 200, you can get a pink person and write a message for someone about breast cancer awareness to support the cause. It may be someone you know who is suffering from it, or to nobody in particular with words of encouragement. Your pink person will be displayed in the garden in front of the Belo Clinic. (I will have to clear up exactly what the “pink person” is, though.)
As for the women there who are afraid to find out more about breast cancer, remember that prevention is better than cure! The earlier you can detect it, the bigger is the possibility that you will survive it.