October has finally become synonymous among most adults not only with Halloween, but also with Breast Cancer Awareness. The month-long dedication to bringing greater awareness to breast cancer has generated hope for hundreds of thousands of women and men worldwide. After all, awareness is the first step toward understanding. Understanding leads to knowledge and knowledge leads to better treatments and one day, surely a cure.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that as many as 231,840 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. It is also estimated that there will be 40,290 related deaths. While more rare, breast cancer is also affecting men. In fact, this year it is estimated that there will be 2,350 new cases of breast cancer in men resulting in 440 deaths. (http://www.cancer.org/research/cancerfactsstatistics/cancerfactsfigures2015/)
In addition to this well-established awareness campaign comes a specific day devoted to Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA). Launched in Canada by a plastic surgeon, BRA has crossed the borders and is now being lead by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) in the USA. The purpose of the Breast Reconstruction Awareness USA Campaign is to build awareness around breast reconstruction options. Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day is held on the third Wednesday in October.
While reconstruction following a mastectomy or lumpectomy is not for every woman, every woman should be informed of the options to which she is legally entitled. Many women are unaware of these options. For instance, according to the BRA website, “all women who are candidates for breast reconstruction should be offered treatment in a safe and timely manner.” In addition, “Federal law mandates coverage of breast reconstruction for all breast cancer patients, even if such reconstruction is delayed until after other treatments.”
With awareness comes change for the better. During a month typically awash in fall colors a flurry of pink now prevails. How will you show your support of Breast Cancer Awareness month and BRA Day USA?