Breast Cancer Awareness & Pink Ribbon Day

October has become regarded as the Breast Cancer Awareness month, with October 13th widely known as Pink Ribbon Day. The month where we wear pink holds an important place for many as breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the second most common cancer in general. The Breast Cancer Awareness month brings attention to the cancer, garners support from the public for treatments and pushes for individuals to become more aware of breast cancer symptoms.

Pink Ribbon

What is Breast Cancer?

Considering the upcoming Pink Ribbon Day, we are also here to help bring awareness to breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs when breast cells grow uncontrollably, and it can start in different parts of the breast. The cancer can also metastasize, where it spreads from the breast to other parts of the body through blood and lymph vessels.

Common symptoms may include:

  • New lump in the breast
  • Breast pain that persists
  • Redness, swelling, irritation of breast skin
  • Change in nipple or breast shape and size
  • Inward turning of nipple
  • Unusual nipple discharge

If you notice any breast cancer symptoms, it is advised to contact your doctor as soon as possible to get examined.

Pink Ribbon

Pink Ribbon Day History

The origin of the Pink Ribbon Day can be traced back to Charlotte Haley, a battler of Breast Cancer. In 1991, she began to hand-make peach-coloured Breast Cancer Awareness ribbons as her grandmother, sister and daughter were also affected by breast cancer. She distributed the ribbons at local supermarkets with a card attached, which read: “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”

In the 1980s to 1990s, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation used a pink ribbon in the image of a female runner as the logo design for their first Komen Race for the Cure (In 2007, the logo was later changed to include a pink “running ribbon” after the foundation changed their name to “Susan G.Komen for the Cure”). Pink became Komen’s official colour for their awareness programs and pink visors were distributed to participants of their races. During the 1991 Komen New York City race, pink ribbons were given to the breast cancer survivors at the race. This also contributed to the pink ribbon becoming a worldwide symbol for breast cancer awareness.

Self Magazine’s editor in chief, Alexandra Penney, was working on SELF Magazine’s 1992 National Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue at that time. Penney was inspired by Hayley’s idea of using peach-coloured awareness ribbons, so she wanted to collaborate with her to further develop the breast cancer awareness campaign. However, Hayley rejected the proposal as she thought it would be too commercial.

Evelyn Lauder of Estée Lauder Cosmetics and Alexandra Penney soon joined hands to bring awareness to breast cancer together. Due to legal reasons, they decided on the Pink Ribbon as the symbol, and soon the pink ribbons were distributed at Estée Lauder counters. In the first year alone, more than 1 million pink ribbons were already given out. Following the publication of the magazine, the Pink Ribbon as an emblem for breast cancer awareness became universally accepted and incorporated by several other organisations.