Breast cancer death rates have been decreasing since 1989, thanks in part to improvements in treatments, an increase in earlier detection as well as more awareness around breast cancer. However, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S in 2018., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. Another 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men.
Continuous improvement in screening technology can increase early detection numbers, as can awareness campaigns and apps that aim to educate the public about the disease. Here are some recent technologies that have improved breast cancer awareness.
Improvements in screening technology
Newly approved systems like the Siemens Mammomat Fusion and 3-D mammography imaging allow doctors to get high-quality images in mammographies. Other systems, such as the iReveal breast density module for the PowerLook Advanced Mammography Platform delivers automated, rapid, and reproducible assessments of breast density. These and other improvements in digital technology have improved the screening processes, allowing for early detection.
Educational mobile apps
Mobile technology has made it easier to disseminate information, including health awareness, to a large number of people at a low cost.
Apps such as I Love Boobies, created by the Keep A Breast Foundation, teaches users how to perform breast self-exams and set monthly reminders. Another app, My Self Checker, developed by Channel 4 in the UK offers video guidance for self-checks for both men and women.
“Pink Ribbon” campaigns
The Pink Ribbon has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness since it was launched by Self Magazine’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue in 1992. Every year, in the month of October, events are held worldwide under the Pink Ribbon movement, with celebrities and politicians speaking up on the issue. Every year, a new generation learns about breast cancer via a variety of media, including social media, TV advertisements, public posts by celebrities, and newspaper coverage.
A global awareness around the topic of breast cancer, self-exams, and the importance of these for both men and women has increased early detection, but more remains to be done. As October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, what will you do in these last few days of the month to recognize the cause?