Signify Premium Insight: Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2020: Human Concerns and Alternative Imaging Strategies

Published: November 2, 2020

“Help us wake up legislators and America!” This call to arms was printed on postcards handed out by Charlotte Haley in 1991. As someone whose sister, daughter and granddaughter had breast cancer, Haley was critical of the level of funding the National Cancer Institute was designating to fighting the disease, spending only 5% of its $1.8bn budget on breast cancer prevention. As well as a punchy message, these postcards also came with a way for those in agreement to show their support for the cause: a peach ribbon.  

These ribbons quickly became a symbol for those who wanted to raise awareness of the problem of breast cancer, and, by way of companies like Estee Lauder and Avon, and organisations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the ribbons found their now iconic bubblegum-pink shade, and became synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  

Since then, there have been great improvements in outcomes for breast cancer patients. In the UK for example, data provided by Cancer Research UK shows that despite an increase in the incidence of breast cancer over the 20 years to 2017, rising from 145, to 166 per 100,000 women, the mortality rate has fallen dramatically, from 49 to 33 per 100,000 – a decrease of more than 30%. It’s a similar story in the US, where the mortality rate has, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control, fallen by 26% since the year 2000.  

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