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What It Means to Wear Pink During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness - Pink Ribbon

Every October, the color pink shows up in full force. From lapel pins to NFL uniforms, people integrate pink into their wardrobes to support breast cancer awareness month. As an awareness campaign, it’s incredibly successful. But awareness is just the first step. From awareness, public health education and advances in research are possible.

Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes. As of 2015, there are 2.8 million women in the U.S. with a history of breast cancer. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.

Lydia Komarnicky, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and a member of the board of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, says wearing pink “reminds people of the importance of the month of October and to get a mammogram if you have forgotten. More importantly I think the pink shirt, ribbon, hat, or merchandise of your choice honors those who have successfully beaten the disease, those who are currently battling the disease, and also reminds us of those that have succumbed to the disease."

In addition to shining a light on the importance of annual screenings, breast cancer awareness month also generates funding for breast cancer research.

Last year, two Drexel University College of Medicine researchers received grants through the statewide Refunds for Breast Cancer Research campaign. Mauricio Reginato, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, was recognized for his research in triple negative breast cancer and targeted treatment. Alessandro Fatatis, MD, PhD, professor in the Departments of Pharmacology & Physiology and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, received his grant for his research in cancer development.

While survival rates have dramatically improved over the years, breast cancer is still expected to claim over 40,000 lives in 2015, and an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. this year. These statistics serve as a reminder that breast cancer is a life-threatening disease that affects patients both physically and mentally.

The battle with breast cancer doesn’t necessarily end once you complete treatment. Dr. Komarnicky explains, “Once patients finish treatment, many have told me they are actually more anxious than when they were getting treatment because they felt as if something was being done. Suddenly treatment is over and they feel like they are on their own. This is where support groups can help and perhaps getting involved in the breast cancer movement by becoming a volunteer.”

Wearing pink during the month of October is a simple way to let these women know they’re not alone. Furthermore, wearing pink during breast cancer awareness month shows your support for educating the public, advancing research and honoring the millions of women who have fought the disease so that one day no women will have to fight it again.

Drexel Cancer Care

Drexel Cancer Care utilizes the latest medical breakthroughs to treat all forms of cancer, including breast cancer. Our specialists are located centrally in Philadelphia, offering patients easy access to advanced cancer care, and are committed to providing patients with compassionate, comprehensive cancer treatment.

Drexel Cancer Care also provides patients with access to numerous support groups. These groups are offered free of charge to patients, families and caregivers.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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