October is truly an important month of the year. In the west it is the onset of autumn, in the middle east it is the end of brutal summers and in the South East Asian tropical areas it is the end of monsoon. In addition to its being a transition month between different seasons in different parts of the world, October holds another noteworthy importance. It is observed as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) all around the world.
Not a lot of people may actually know the prominence breast cancer awareness month holds. Its significance may have reduced to just baking pink cupcakes, and posing for Instagram pictures with a pink ribbon and many other trivialities. There’s of course nothing wrong with the cupcakes and the pink themed Instagram pictures etc. but these are mere symbolisms and its necessary that we know and learn the actual purpose behind this campaign.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer. The campaign also intends to educate people about the importance of early screening, test and more. 
Currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control. When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured. If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option. In such cases, palliative care to relief the suffering of patients and their families is needed. 
So, how does holding an entire month for breast cancer awareness, actually help this cause? One of the primary motives behind this campaign is to raise funds for breast cancer research. Advances in research offer hope and healing to countless women diagnosed every year. The funds generated through these campaigns are used to accelerate breast cancer research and provide treatment to patients in need. 
As individuals, what can each one of us do?
- Donate to breast cancer research – Find out the local breast cancer research institutions in your area and try and donate some funds towards this noble cause. For all of you in the UAE these are two institutions you can look up –
- Al Jalila Foundation – “Brest Friends” Initiative – https://www.aljalilafoundation.ae/what-we-do/treatment/brest-friends/
- Pink Caravan UAE – https://www.pinkcaravan.ae/
- Prevention is Cure – One of the most important things to do could be to get tested for breast cancer and also urge women around us to do regular breast cancer checkups. Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so. Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year. Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening 
- Find and partake in local activities that are raising funds for breast cancer awareness. For all of you in the UAE, below are two lists of activities you can do and partake this year in Dubai / Sharjah and Online (Zoom) and help in the raising of funds for breast cancer research –
- Self-examinations for early breast cancer detection from time to time – There’s no better way to beat breast cancer than early detection. Statistics say that 80% of Breast Cancer Tumors are detected by self-examination. Below is an illustration to help you with the self-examination.
That’s all for now, have a wonderful #pinktober!
Sources –  – Wikipedia.com;  – who.org;  – aljalilafoundation.ae;  – cancer.org