The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC; @deadline2020) recently issued an important message about transforming Pink October Breast Cancer Month from awareness into action to have a better impact on prevention and treatment of breast cancer by investing in innovative research rather than just buying pink products and spending millions of dollars on pink campaigns. NBCC calls for supporting innovative research and meaningful advocacy.
According to NBCC, work is focused on transforming breast cancer research through the ARTEMIS project to end breast cancer through action and advocacy. This innovative model brings together advocates and scientists to identify and answer the questions vital to ending breast cancer.
It is fair to say that most people who organize Pink October Breast Cancer Month activities are presently expanding their efforts beyond awareness campaigns, especially in countries and regions where there are many unmet needs to detect breast cancer early and to support patients with the disease. In Lebanon, for example, the Breast Center of Excellence at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (@AUBMC_Official) and the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation (@LBCF_Lebanon) organize community meetings at various institutions, municipalities, women’s organizations, schools, and public and sports events, as well as TV and social media campaigns, to promote breast health awareness to prevent locally advanced breast cancer at presentation, as well as to support and better treat women who have breast abnormalities at screening, or who have a diagnosis of breast cancer. We also organize fundraising events to cover some aspects of treatment for patients in need for financial support.
In addition, this year we organized a #nodrama t-shirt campaign that emphasized the need to support patients who have breast cancer, respect them, de-dramatize their situation, support adaptation to diagnosis and body changes, get proper modern medical and surgical treatment, and go back to life and work normally. “I Took the Cut” was another October action campaign, organized for the third year in a row, to donate hair and support patients with breast cancer who lose their hair secondary to chemotherapy. At the end of the month, we organized a Patient Empowerment Workshop to support patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Those campaigns, in collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Health awareness campaigns, have produced positive effects. They have helped reduce locally advanced breast cancer at presentation and total mastectomy rates, and improve survival rates. However, nowadays, about one-third of patients still present with locally advanced disease, therefore more action is required. Those campaigns are truly transforming Breast Cancer Awareness Month into Breast Cancer Action Month to support better awareness, better early detection, better diagnosis, better management, and better support of patients with breast cancer. People and organizations are also being encouraged to support research to fight breast cancer. It is a great endeavor by NBCC to encourage people and organizations to support innovative research.
AUBMC and LBCF Breast Cancer volunteers at the Beirut International Marathon Fun Run.