Friday, June 21, 2024

Bound by the Breast

by Ella Vasquez | October 31, 2021

Every month holds its special celebrations. Back in 1985, a partnership was formed between the American Cancer Society and the Imperial Chemical Industries that birthed Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). Today, every October, we salute those who have survived and honor those who continue to fight the deadly disease. And like most celebrations, this one is goal-oriented; anchored on the promotion of mammograms and educating women on early detection.

Many survivors have become impactful models for their community. The commencement of BCAM alone gained traction partial to the diagnosis of Betty Ford who had been the wife of the former President of the United States of America Gerald Ford. And when the attachment of peach ribbons on thousands of cards was sent out three decades ago by Charlotte Haley, her message had become the premier visual of the cause. Although the incorporation of pink was initiated by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation when they gave out pink visors to the participants of their Race for the Cure events, the color also incites positive psychological effects. It has been found to have a calming, playful, quieting, and stress relieving effect on people’s emotional and mental health. Additionally, in 1992, Estée Lauder upped the ante by handing out 1.5 million pink ribbons, sparking the first nationwide campaign. No matter how big or small, each fighter has contributed even by sharing their life story. 

For a type of cancer that spreads to distant parts of the body, patients are burdened with mounting barriers like medical costs, fear, and misinformation. Since the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s founding in 1991, it has funded about $7 million in research projects to improve detections, diagnostics, and therapies. These investments study and enhance existing programs that eventually lead to discoveries, which are tremendous victories for metastatic breast cancer patients and caregivers. 

All is but the same in the Philippine context, where this malady poses as the third leading cause of cancer deaths among Filipinos and topping as the lead incidence among cancer sites. Financing is the foremost obstacle to many in our country, but through the establishment of the Cancer Assistance Funds by the Department of Health, many have found a means to combat this health concern. In upholding the focus of this year’s theme which is “buddying up with one another because no one should fight cancer alone”, around 3,000 patients were aided with free cancer medicines despite the setbacks and challenges of this pandemic. 

Amongst the twelve months, on the tenth, we commemorate those who have been struck with breast cancer, especially familiar people who have settled in significant parts of our lives.

Mothers, by intrinsically breastfeeding their newborns and kickstarting a life of nourishment and development, are implicitly promoting the protection of children from diseases and the decline of breast cancer mortality rates. Unknowingly, with optimal breastfeeding, the risk of attaining breast cancer itself is also lowered. 

Women, as a whole, who cope with the reconstruction of their feminine identity also benefit from the cause of BCAM. Throughout history, breasts have been assets that pertained to a woman’s appearance, sexuality, attractiveness, body function, and sense of wholeness. An altered body image lobbies in a psychosocial concern when dealing with breast cancer. Through the celebration of BCAM, these concerns are addressed, helping those who hold life roles with their breasts as a feature of femininity.

We lift the weight off their chests by supporting them through this adversary. Bound by the breasts, we affirm their lives through the pink ribbon. 


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