Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women and the second most common cancer overall. In high income countries, organized screening programs with mammography have led to earlier diagnosis, and coupled with effective treatment, have led to reductions in breast cancer mortality. There are many challenges, however in implementing such effective organized screening programs in limited resource settings. Raising awareness and understanding about breast cancer risks, early signs and symptoms and overall breast health awareness is an important part of a public health approach for breast cancer.
Breast cancer incidence, mortality and survival rates vary greatly in the world. Thus, European countries have the highest breast cancer incidence rate. For instance, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, France and Lebanon are in the top of the list. Meanwhile, African countries show the highest mortality rates for this disease.
Breast cancer is easier to be treated successfully if it was found early. Screening mammography is one of the most common methods in its detection. A report from the American National Cancer Institute affirmed that regular mammography screening significantly contributed to the decline of breast cancer mortality in the USA. It reduced the number of deaths from by nearly 40 percent since 1990. A Harward study equally confirmed the importance of screening. 70 percent of women who died from breast cancer in their forties at major Harvard teaching hospitals were among the 20 percent of women not being screened. Breast Health Global Initiative. It covers topics such as: breast cancer risk factors and risk reduction strategies, early signs and symptoms, screening and early detection methods, and planning comprehensive breast health programs.
If cases of breast cancer can be detected earlier, it is possible to initiate treatments for the disease before the cancerous growth has spread and become a serious concern. For this reason, one of the core aims of breast cancer awareness is to encourage screening for breast cancer for women. There is some concern about the over-detection of breast cancer and overzealous screening leading to excessive treatment for this condition. This is a particular concern for women with early-stage breast cancer who may have never experienced symptoms related to the cancer and undergo unnecessary treatment.
The core aspect of breast cancer awareness is raising funds for breast cancer research. It is hoped that further knowledge about the pathology of breast cancer could lead to the discovery or a more reliable and permanent cure than what is currently available. The pink ribbon is the symbol for breast cancer awareness, which is used as a concept brand. It combines the fear of cancer with the hope for successful treatment and encourages such people to buy or wear a pink ribbon to demonstrate their support and increase awareness of the brand.