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Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast cancer awareness is a national campaign to educate people - young women, older women, and men as well - about breast cancer. Breast cancer awareness covers all issues related to breast cancer including prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Breast cancer awareness primarily focuses on teaching people about breast cancer prevention and early detection of breast cancer is a crucial aspect of breast cancer awareness. The fundamental philosophy behind breast cancer awareness is that by teaching women about breast cancer, they can make informed decisions about breast cancer prevention and early detection. Early detection of breast cancer is absolutely paramount to a favorable prognosis.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Twenty years ago, a group of women's health advocates declared October "breast cancer awareness month."? The national breast cancer awareness campaign is sponsored by a number of prominent organizations including the American Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer Resource Committee, Center for Disease Control (CDC), and many other reputable organizations. The resources amassed by this conglomeration fund breast cancer awareness across the nation.

One of the big components of the breast cancer awareness effort is encouraging women to perform a monthly breast self-exam and get routine mammography testing at their doctor's office. Local, state, and national breast cancer awareness programs have increased consumer access to mammograms, improved the clinical screening process, and promoted breast cancer research. Since the campaign began, mammography rates have increased significantly and the breast cancer death rate has declined. According to statistics, 27 percent of women older than fifty had reported having a mammogram in the last two years. In 1998, this percentage increased to nearly 70 percent. While routine breast exams cannot prevent cancer, they can detect it at its earlier stages, thereby greatly improving one's chance of survival.

Political Influence

Breast cancer awareness also has a tremendous influence on our politicians. In just eight years, the federal government increased funding for breast cancer research by 600 percent ($92.7 million in 1991 to $660 million in 1999). In 1992 the government passed the Mammography Quality Standards Act, requiring that all breast cancer detection facilities meet minimum quality standards. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), established by the CDC, has provided mammograms to 4.6 million underserved women since 1991.

Breast cancer awareness efforts have achieved tremendous progress in educating Americans about breast cancer. Women's health advocates encourage women to learn the facts about breast cancer and spread the word to others. The breast cancer awareness campaign is currently focused on increasing repeat screening and encouraging certain groups of women (those less likely to have testing) to seek routine breast examinations.