Throughout October, most Americans are “in the pink” thanks to the annual month-long Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. Developed in 1985 to increase awareness about the disease and raise funds for treatment and research, the observance is one of the most successful of its kind…with pink products popping up on everything from pens and paper cups to perfume and Porsches.
Over the past 31 years, major breast cancer organizations have raised billions of dollars for the disease which will effect one in eight women in the United States. Further statistics shed light on the reason so much attention is given to the disease:
- In 2016, an estimated 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
- About 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2016.
- A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
- For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
- Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.
- In 2016, there are more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
- About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations (abnormal changes) inherited from one’s mother or father.
- The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).
Breast Cancer Advocacy
While efforts to increase awareness of breast cancer can be traced back to 1913, ongoing organized campaigns to increase breast cancer awareness did not exist until the mid-1970s, when advocacy groups began to disseminate information about treatment options and to provide counseling services. The announcement that Betty Ford, the wife of then U.S. President Gerald Ford, had undergone breast cancer surgery in September of 1974 is credited with increasing public awareness of breast cancer and comfort with public discussions about the disease.
History of the Pink Ribbon
In the early 1990s, a 68-year-old named Charlotte Haley began making peach ribbons by hand in her home because her daughter, sister, and grandmother had breast cancer. She distributed thousands of ribbons at supermarkets with cards that read: “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”
As word spread, executives from Estée Lauder and Self magazine asked Haley for permission to use her ribbon. She refused, saying the companies were too commercial. But Self was determined to use the ribbon idea. So editors consulted with lawyers and were advised to choose another color. They opted for pink, because it is “soothing, comforting, and healing” — everything breast cancer is not. Soon Charlotte Haley’s grassroots peach ribbon was history, and the pink ribbon became the worldwide symbol for breast cancer.
Today, retailers, non-profit organizations and the general public use pink ribbons on products to promote events like concerts, wine tastings, bowling or golf tournaments, online sponsorships, marathons, triathlons and bike races…to name a few. Don’t pass up the opportunity to pick up some pink swag for your Breast Cancer Awareness event. There is still time to order if you act fast. If you can think it, we can pink it.
Pretty in Pink
- Brushes and combs
- Caps and Visors
- Christmas ornaments
- Compact mirrors
- Cosmetic bags
- Dog tags
- Drawstring backpacks
- Fanny packs
- Golf towels
- Lip balm
- Manicure sets
- Nail files
- Rubber bracelets
- Rubber gloves
- Teddy bears
- Tool kits
- Tote bags
Several On Target Promotion clients offer Breast Cancer-related merchandise, such as the Breast Cancer bracelet, which their employees can purchase. The proceeds raised go to their local Breast Cancer Awareness Charity. Other clients support local walks and fund raisers by donating logo-imprinted merchandise for participants. It’s a great way to raise awareness for the community and also to position their brand with a great cause.
On Target Promotions is a national promotional products agency based in Riverside, California. We help clients use promotional products along with other media to design and secure quality promotional programs that meet their goals and exceed their expectations. Since we believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, everything we do is designed with our customer in mind. Your focus is our goal. For more ideas for your company call (951) 682-8427 or email us to start your project today.