Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in the United States. Around one in eight women will develop breast cancer over her lifetime. While it is a common type of cancer, the factors surrounding breast cancer may not be common knowledge. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is one way to educate - and inspire - the public.

What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign to help raise awareness of breast cancer, educate the public about its symptoms and prevention, and fund research into its causes, treatment, and cure. For those who have been affected by or survived breast cancer, it can also be a time to reflect, honor those who were lost, and celebrate those who have survived.

When is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month runs the entire month of October. There are several events, such as social media campaigns, races, or walking events, that take place across the country throughout the month.

When did Breast Cancer Awareness Month start?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985, through a partnership between the American Cancer Society and Imperial Chemical Industries, which has since become part of AstraZeneca, a producer of breast cancer drugs. It was originally created as a way to encourage women to get regular mammograms, but has since expanded to address treatment, research, and funding.

Why is Breast Cancer Awareness Month important?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is important because it increases awareness of the disease and raises funds for research of its cause, treatments, and cure.

One aspect of awareness is public education. Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaigns help teach the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and ways of prevention, including how to perform a self-exam, how to access proper screening, and the importance of regular mammograms. The month also highlights new, effective treatment options and surgeries for those affected by breast cancer, including options that are in development or that may not be widely known otherwise.

A huge goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is fundraising for research. Through races, walks, social media campaigns, and other events throughout the month, researchers gain more funding to continue to develop the new therapies and targeted treatments that have improved outcomes, helped drive the mortality rate down over the years, and given hope to patients facing the disease.

Most importantly, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to show support and solidarity for those affected by breast cancer and celebrate the survivors who fought the disease.

What can you do for Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Whether donating, volunteering, or fundraising, there are several ways to get involved throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Wear pink: Many schools or workplaces may have a “Wear Pink” day to encourage people to wear as much pink as they can in their outfits to bring awareness and get people talking. Even just wearing a pink ribbon can start an important conversation.


Many large corporations will hold fundraisers to help fund breast cancer research, but you may find some local organizations holding fundraisers you can join as well. These days, there are virtual fundraisers or fundraisers on social media. You can even start a fundraiser yourself. Hold a raffle or bake sale, host a quiz night or sporting event, coordinate a talent show or auction, partner with a larger organization - there are plenty of ways you can help!

Walk or run

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is well known for its race events. Race for the Cure, More Than Pink Walk events and the Komen 3-Day walk take place throughout October across the country and help raise money and bring awareness to breast cancer. You may find local races in your area you can participate in as well.


You can donate directly to breast cancer organizations like the American Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, or the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Whether a one time donation or an ongoing contribution, every dollar counts toward supporting the community affected by breast cancer.


Supporting those affected by breast cancer doesn’t have to happen only in October. You may be able to volunteer at your local breast cancer clinic or hospital, nonprofit, or breast cancer organization. Donating your time and energy can go a long way in supporting a community of patients, survivors, loved ones, and medical professionals.

Are there any breast cancer walks to join?

The Susan G. Komen Foundation hosts several different types of walks and runs to fundraise and support breast cancer awareness and research. Learn more about the different types of events. You can even search in your area to find local upcoming races near you.

What is the significance of the pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Charlotte Haley, the granddaughter, sister, and mother of women who battled breast cancer, first began distributing peach colored ribbons to call attention to inadequate funding for cancer research. In 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation - a breast cancer advocacy organization - handed out pink ribbons to every participant in its New York City Race for the Cure. In 1992, Alexandra Penney, the editor of Self magazine, worked with the Estée Lauder company to do something big for its second annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue - together, they created a pink ribbon and the cosmetics company distributed them at its stores across the country.

Today, the ribbon has become the universal symbol of breast cancer, and a means of raising awareness and illustrating solidarity and support among women.

Raising awareness of breast cancer is a group effort. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a wonderful way to get people involved and excited about lending support and uplifting the voices of patients and survivors.

We can all do our part in highlighting the importance of education, prevention, funding, and research surrounding breast cancer - not just during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but every day of the year.

Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic

The Breast Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic of the Lifespan Cancer Institute at Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital and Newport Hospital offers patients the highest level of expertise in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and support.