What is Wear it Pink 2022? Breast Cancer Awareness Month

wear it pink

What is Wear it Pink?

Wear it Pink is one of the biggest and longest-running fundraising events in the UK. Wear it Pink takes place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to raise money for the UK’s biggest breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now.

Every year, thousands of people across the UK wear pink clothing, do bake sales, or sponsor challenges in their schools, communities, and workplaces to show support for those affected by the disease.

Wear it Pink has been going strong for over 20 years and has raised a total of £37.5 million so far. While Wear it Pink has been incredibly successful in raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research and support for those living with the disease, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a considerable obstacle in producing further advancements. Researchers in the UK have missed around 230,000 hours in their labs. This means that they were unable to research, study, or develop breakthrough treatments during this time.

More importantly, the pandemic has caused significant issues for those currently going through breast cancer as access to appointments, treatment, and follow-ups has been affected by lockdown restrictions.

Despite these drawbacks, Breast Cancer Now’s Wear it Pink campaign is more determined than ever to achieve their goal of everyone diagnosed with breast cancer surviving and receiving all the emotional, physical, and medical support they need.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the breast tissue. Breast cancer starts when the cells in the breasts begin to divide and grow in an abnormal and uncontrolled way.

Breast cancer can start in one or both of the breasts. It can also originate in different parts of the breast, but the most common area is the ducts.

How many people are affected by breast cancer in the UK?

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, accounting for around 15% of all new cases and 30% of all existing cancers. Cases of breast cancer in women have doubled over the past 50 years.

In the UK, an estimated 55,000 women and 370 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Figures indicate that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Although breast cancer mortality rates have been declining steadily since the mid-1980s, around 11,500 women and 80 men will die from breast cancer. In fact, breast cancer is still the most common cause of death for women between the ages of 35-49.

How many types of breast cancer are there?

There are several types of breast cancer. The different types of breast cancer originate in different parts of the breast and sometimes require different treatments.

Breast cancer develops in different parts of the breasts. It is often divided into two main groups:

  • Non-invasive breast cancer. This type of cancer is found in the ducts of the breasts and has not spread into the surrounding breast tissue. This form of non-invasive breast cancer is usually identified during a mammogram and rarely shows as a breast lump.
  • Invasive breast cancer. This is the most common type of cancer. This is where cancer cells have spread through the lining of the ducts into the surrounding tissue.

What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?

  • A lump in the breast, upper chest or armpit.
  • A change to the skin on or around the breast/s. This includes puckering or dimpling.
  • A change in the colour of the breast/s.
  • Nipple/s changing in shape (e.g. becoming inverted).
  • Developing a rash or crusting.
  • Unusual discharge from the nipples.
  • Change in size and shape of the breast/s.

How to check your breasts?

There is no special or specific way to check your breasts. However, it is crucial that you check them regularly so that you become aware of anything that looks or feels new or different to you. It is also important to remember that the way your breasts feel at different times of the month can change. For example, some women experience tenderness or lumpiness that extends into the armpits during their menstrual cycle.

The NHS Breast Screening Programme has devised a 5-point plan for being breast aware:

  • Know what is normal for you.
  • Look at your breasts and feel them regularly.
  • Know what changes to look for.
  • Report any changes to a GP without delay.
  • Attend routine screenings if you are over the age of 50.

Can men get breast cancer?

There is a common misconception that men cannot get breast cancer. Men, like women, have breast tissue, which means they can get breast cancer. However, breast cancer in men is rare and is typically only seen in men over the age of 60.

What are the signs of male breast cancer?

The signs and symptoms of breast cancer in men are similar to those of the disease in women. The most common sign is a lump in the chest area.

Other symptoms of male breast cancer include:

  • Discharge from the nipple. This discharge is sometimes blood stained.
  • A tender and inverted nipple.
  • Ulcers on the chest or nipple area.

What are the causes of breast cancer in men?

As of 2022, there is no clear scientific consensus on the causes of male breast cancer. As breast cancer is significantly more prevalent in women than in men, more research and funding has gone into the research and treatment of this disease in women.

In 2007, the Male Breast Cancer Study was launched to determine the exact genetic, environmental, and lifestyle causes of breast cancer in men. The purpose of the study is to highlight the parallels and discrepancies between breast cancer in men and women.

Male breast cancer risk factors

Age

Men over the age of 60 are the most likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Genes

10% of breast cancer cases in men are caused by altered BRCA2 genes. A single change in this gene can increase the risk of breast cancer by 50%.

A recent study discovered that three more genetic changes increased men’s chances of developing breast cancer by approximately 47%, 45%, and 61% respectively. Researchers found that there was a significant genetic overlap in genetic risk factors for both groups because all three genetic changes are known to increase the risk of the disease in women.

Obesity

Obesity in men increases the risk of developing breast cancer by around 30%.

High oestrogen levels

There is evidence that men who have higher than average levels of oestrogen are more likely to get breast cancer.

What is a breast screening?

A breast screening uses a breast x-ray known as a mammogram to look for cancer. The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment is likely to be. Screenings can pick up breast cancer before any symptoms are present.

Screening prevents an estimated 1,300 deaths from breast cancer every year in the UK.

What are the different treatments for breast cancer?

Surgery

The first course of treatment for breast cancer is often surgery.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is a treatment for cancer that uses high-energy x-rays

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapies are drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer.

Bisphosphonates

Bisphosphonates may be used as part of your treatment to minimise the risk of primary breast cancer spreading and your bones weakening or breaking.

 

 

 

Wear it Pink is a fantastic opportunity to bring people together for the common cause of fighting breast cancer and no contribution is too small.