If you ask a woman which disease she fears most, the answer is almost always breast cancer. And this is despite the fact that cardiovascular disease has a far greater impact. Suffice it to say that, Istat data in hand, in 2012 120,000 women died in our country from cardiovascular events, while deaths from breast cancer were about 13,000. The numbers certainly do not serve to draw up a sad ranking, but to reason: if the perception of the risk of breast cancer is so – rightly – vivid (let’s not forget that cancer affects one woman out of 8) and if her mortality has dropped in recent years, it is probably also due to the so-called “pink October”.
Whether you like this appellation or not, like the color pink or not, whether you are critical or not about the false image of breast cancer that is sometimes conveyed this month, or about overexposure of the disease or how it can be exploited by marketing, at least one merit this “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” has it.
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That of having reminded everyone, year after year, of the appointment with early diagnosis and mammography screening. The roar of the hundreds of initiatives that are organized for October, in fact, cannot fail to reach the ears of every woman. Of course, there is room for improvement and perhaps it is time to change something in the message.
We are trying: over the years the “pink October” has been enriched with events that go beyond the promotion of prevention. The symbol has also changed: the famous pink ribbon is now frayed, incomplete, representing the thousands of women living with metastatic breast cancer, whose day is celebrated on 13 October. This date in the calendar reminds us that although much has been done, there is still a need for research and funding to carry it forward.
Here are some of the (many) initiatives in which it is possible to participate, finally live. Warning: the list is far from exhaustive: associations, hospitals and organizations organize regional and local events.
Breast Health Day – Europa Donna Italia
October 15 is celebrated on Breast Health Day, the highlight of the month dedicated to prevention. Europa Donna Italia will hold a meeting on this day to take stock of prevention and Breast Units. The association has also just launched the Tele-senology project: a real online course that can be accessed for free to learn how to relate to the world of digital health and telemedicine.
BRA DAY – Sicpre
October 19 is BRA DAY, the awareness day on breast reconstruction organized by the scientific society SICPRE, which aims to involve many breast centers throughout Italy and especially many women. “You are the protagonist” is the title of the event, indicating the desire to give the floor to the patients, so that they can tell their experiences and their needs. During the morning there will be a live online which will be attended by many breast care centers. Also in October, the new DonnaxDonna project booklet will be published, in which plastic-reconstructive surgeons answer questions on radiotherapy and breast reconstruction, with or without prostheses.
Frecciarosa – IncontraDonna Foundation
The prevention campaign promoted by the IncontraDonna Foundation in collaboration with the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group, with the patronage of the Ministry of Health, Agenas, and in partnership with AIOM (Italian Association of Medical Oncology) and Farmindustria is back again this year. In October, from Monday to Friday, it will be possible to carry out free visits and consultations with specialist doctors on board Frecce, Intercity, Regional and in the FRECCIALounges of Roma Termini and Milano Centrale.
In addition, the volunteers of IncontraDonna will distribute the Health Vademecum and will be available for advice and direct testimonials. It is possible to check the dates, times and trains involved on frecciarosa.it in the “Train and FrecciaLounge Calendar”. This year the program is enriched with free sports sessions in Naples, Rome, breaking latest news, Cagliari, Cosenza, Potenza, Palermo with the Frecciarosa Sport.
LILT for WOMEN
It is the initiative promoted by the Italian League for the Fight against Cancer. The association offers the possibility to undergo free breast examinations, by booking them at the toll-free number 800-998877 (Mon-Fri 10-15). Furthermore, in the year of its centenary, LILT launches the Mia LILT app: a service for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention which, after a lifestyle-based profiling, provides personalized advice and compiles the prevention agenda, remembering the tests to undergo for the early diagnosis of tumors. The APP will be available from November 2022 for Android to iOS systems.
Pink Ribbon Campaign – The Estée Lauder Companies for the AIRC Foundation
The 30th edition of the “Breast Cancer Campaign”, the global campaign against breast cancer promoted by The Estée Lauder Companies, of which the AIRC Foundation is an official partner, started early, with the pink lighting of the Maschio Angioino in Naples. in Italy. The symbol is the famous pink ribbon, incomplete for some years now. The slogan is #TimeToEndBreastCancer (it’s time to put an end to breast cancer).
Currently the campaign supports three three-year scholarships for young researchers working against breast cancer, such as Sara La Manna of the University of Naples Federico II and Leonardo Barzaghi of the IFOM of Milan. It is also possible to contribute simply by purchasing a pin. For the month of October, AIRC organizes numerous initiatives to raise awareness and raise funds for breast cancer research (www.nastrorosa.it).
PittaRosso Pink Parade – Veronesi Foundation
With the Veronesi Foundation, on Sunday 16 October the PittaRosso Pink Parade returns to Milan, the 5 km walk in support of scientific research on female cancer. With the funds raised during this edition, a multicentre project on liquid biopsy for the early diagnosis of relapses and targeted therapy will be financed. It will be possible to participate anywhere, by registering by 6 October on the website www.pittarossopinkparade.it.
In Milan, on the occasion of the walk, on board the camper used as a mobile clinic of the Italian Diagnostic Center, it will be possible to carry out a free breast examination (on 14 October in piazzale Cadorna, on 15 and 16 October in piazza del Cannone and on 17 October again in piazzale Cadorna). It is necessary to book by calling 02 48317300 from 3 October.
The Caravan of Prevention – Komen Italia
One million fewer mammograms and more than 3,500 women who have discovered that they have more advanced breast cancer. These are the data of some “collateral damage” of Covid, released by the Komen Italia association. Which for this reason has intensified the activities of the “Caravan of Prevention”: using its 4 high-tech mobile units and working with the A. Gemelli IRCCS University Polyclinic Foundation and with other centers, it has offered the possibility to carry out the exams free of charge at home for the early diagnosis of over 30,000 women, especially those living in conditions of greater social and economic fragility.
The Ministry of Culture supports Komen Italia in the awareness and fundraising campaign “Prevention is our Masterpiece”: during the month of October, to all those who choose to support the activities of the Caravan with a donation on the website www.prevention.komen .it, the MIC will offer free access to many state museums. The symbol of the initiative is the Portrait of Giovinetta by Andrea Della Robbia kept at the Bargello Museum in Florence, one of the works that can be visited for free by those taking part in the campaign. You can visit the site to find out about the other primary prevention initiatives organized by the association for the month of October.
Follow The Pink – Ieo-Monzino Foundation
In Milan, for the third year, the fundraising campaign to support the research of the European Institute of Oncology on cancers that affect women is back. The initiative is supported by fashion, accessories and food brands (all information here). The campaign will finance the work of the young researcher Giulia Robusti of the Unit of Proteomics and regulation of gene expression directed by Dr. Tiziana Bonaldi of the IEO Department of Experimental Oncology.
Lookiero, the first online Personal Shopping service, also contributes to the campaign, launching the #IDANCEFORMYBREAST challenge: a choreography designed to teach the 3 fundamental gestures of self-examination. The invitation is to share your video on instagram and tiktok with the hashtag #IDANCEFORMYBREAST, tagging @lookiero_it and mentioning 3 friends. For each video posted in October, the company will donate one euro to the IEO-MONZINO Foundation.
Bicinrosa – Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital Foundation
On Sunday 2 October Bicinrosa returns to the streets of the center of Rome, the 4-kilometer cycle ride organized by the Breast Unit of the Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital Foundation. To register, simply go to www.bicinrosa.it or leave your data directly on site. The kit with the Bicinrosa t-shirt will be distributed and it will thus be possible to contribute to the scientific research activities against breast cancer of the Breast Unit of the Polyclinic. This year the focus of the initiative is on genomic tests that help to understand when chemotherapy is useful or not in the treatment of breast cancer.