While most people associate October with pumpkins, back-to-back airings of “Casper” and “Hocus Pocus,” and clever Halloween costumes, October also happens to be National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM).
The American Cancer Society, and what is now part of AstraZeneca, established NBCAM in 1985 in an effort to increase breast cancer awareness and promote research funding. Although The Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure held its first race in 1983, it did not hand out pink ribbons to participants until 1991, and it was not until 1993 that Estee Lauder founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, introducing the Pink Ribbon as its official symbol.
Today, the Pink Ribbon means many things. Hope. Remembrance. Courage. Survival. It has become the common thread weaving its way through a number of breast cancer awareness initiatives. Here are a few campaigns that the DGC team thinks have been most effective:
- One in eight. In 2006, Avon promoted the fight against breast cancer overseas in Romania, highlighting the fact that one in eight women is at risk of developing breast cancer. In movie theaters, subways, buses and other public seating areas, one in every eight seats was painted pink and left empty to show the significance of the statistic.
- Takeout gets a makeover. Last year, KFC launched its controversial “Buckets for the Cure,” serving up fried chicken in pink buckets. Although the public was confused by the fast food restaurant’s connection to breast cancer awareness, KFC donated 50 cents to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for each bucket sold.
- Real men wear pink. During NBCAM, the NFL supports breast cancer awareness by incorporating pink into its advertising and online presence. Players also sport pink apparel, showing fans that pink isn’t just for powder-puff.
There are many ways to promote breast cancer awareness successfully, but recent patient Giuliana Rancic said it best: “I had a friend call me yesterday, and she said, ‘I’m so sorry, can I do anything for you?’ And I said, ‘Just call your doctor tomorrow and make an appointment [for a mammogram]. That’s what you could do for me.’”