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Why Breast Cancer Awareness Matters, and How to Get It Done

By Martha Michael

Breast Cancer Awareness

If you’ve been part of an awareness campaign, you’ve probably donned T-shirts, created social media posts, and maybe even run a 10K to raise money. The first organized breast cancer awareness effort was established in 1985 by the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries Pharmaceuticals, now AstraZeneca, according to The month of October is now dedicated to an international campaign to raise awareness about the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

Turning Awareness into Action

If you’re already taking part in this year’s campaign -- bravo! The more people offering tips on prevention and sharing patient resources, the lower the fatality rate associated with breast cancer. The net impact of working to promote breast cancer awareness depends on whether the public acts on the information they hear, but some believe the growing number of awareness campaigns desensitize people, which makes recommendations fall on deaf ears.

An article by the Stanford Social Innovation Review reminds activists that disseminating information rarely leads to a change in behavior. Research shows that awareness campaigns need unique and specific calls to action, as well as basic facts.

Communications consulting firm Spitfire Strategies suggests four essential elements to create a successful public interest communications campaign:

  • Narrow your target audience
  • Include clear calls to action in messaging
  • Develop a theory about eliciting change
  • Choose the best possible messenger

If you’re working with a team of volunteers this year to spread the word about breast cancer, you can share these suggested strategies to heighten the impact of your campaign.

The Success of Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns

The work of more than 30 years of raising awareness has definitely moved the needle, according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, or BCRF. From the efforts of advocates who raise support for research efforts, these are some of the specific ways the scientific community has improved the lives of breast cancer patients and survivors.

They have greater knowledge about the origins of cancer - Researchers discovered breast cancer stem cells, which contribute to metastasis of the disease. That understanding has led to better solutions for stopping the progress of breast cancer malignancies.

They have found that genetics have an impact on breast cancer rates - The discovery of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations has created a watershed in knowledge about genetic contributions to the risk of breast cancer.

They have discovered different types of breast cancer - By learning about subtypes of cancers, scientists understand more about how the disease progresses and can predict patient response more accurately.

There has been a reduction in overtreating low-risk patients - Better diagnostic tools enable medical professionals to use more effective protocols that reduce the number of unnecessary treatments prescribed.

They have concluded that successful treatment is unique to the individual - As a result of clinical trials, scientists have developed more precise therapies, including effective treatment for HER2+ breast cancer.

The patient’s immune system is now employed to fight cancer - A greater understanding of the microenvironment of tumors has fueled the use of immune cells to effectively block the growth of cancers.

Healthy Lifestyle Action Points

The good news about fighting breast cancer is that a person can play a part in reducing their risk, and many of the recommendations coming from health experts also serve to ward off other diseases and conditions. Maintaining wellness, from keeping your mental and emotional stress levels down to making your physical health a priority, is a worthy goal for a lot of reasons. It contributes to a longer lifespan but, at the same time, ensures that you feel better while you age.

There is a causal relationship between diet and the incidence of breast cancer. The culprit is inflammation, which rises with obesity, so you can lower your risk of cancer through a low-fat diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Women are advised to avoid red meat and processed foods as well as snacks and beverages with substantive quantities of sugar and salt. Refrain from smoking and reduce your alcohol intake to minimize the risk of many forms of cancer.

Exercise contributes to weight loss but also offers benefits to your mental and emotional health. It strengthens muscles and bones while also releasing endorphins into your brain, which adds to your sense of well-being.

Seeing your chiropractor on a regular basis is one of the best forms of prevention where your overall health is concerned. Well-checks are as important as seeking treatment after injury because a baseline of your health will fast-track the process of diagnosing changes that occur.

You don’t have to win a poster contest or run a marathon to effectively do your part for the cause of breast cancer awareness. Communicating a message with an inspiring call to action and targeting the right audience will give you a greater likelihood of success … and a good reason to take a bow for a job well done.

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