Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been celebrated every October since the nineties. It is called 'Pink October' as people around the world adopt the pink colour and display a pink ribbon to raise awareness about breast health.

Call for Applications for Project ECHO Breast Cancer Control Course, photo (c) Sarah Cervantes Unsplash

What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Woman dressed in pink holding a pink ribbon, symbolising breast cancer awareness month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been celebrated every October for the last 90 years. It is called "Pink October" as people around the world adopt the pink colour and display a pink ribbon to raise awareness about the importance of prevention and routine screening for the early diagnosis of breast cancer, now the second most commonly diagnosed cancer globally.

Discover UICC’s Breast Cancer programme and its activities for breast cancer control.



Breast cancer prevention and symptoms

An estimated 30% of breast cancer cases are attributed to modifiable risk factors, understand what you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk. 

Reduce your risk of breast cancer by making better behavioural choices which include:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • staying physically active
  • avoiding harmful use of alcohol
  • breastfeeding
  • quitting tobacco use and avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke
  • avoiding the prolonged use of hormones
  • avoiding excessive exposure to radiation

If you think you have one or more of the above symptoms, seek medical care immediately. Although these could be caused by a non-cancerous mass, an exam is required for proper diagnosis. 

Symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • change in nipple appearance or alteration in the skin surrounding the nipple (areola)
  • bloody or abnormal nipple discharge
  • a lump or thickening in the breast
  • change in breast colour
  • pitting of the breast skin
  • breast or nipple pain

1 in 12 women are predicted to be diagnosed with #breastcancer in their lifetime. How will you help raise awareness this #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth? @uicc

Source: IARC 

Every 50 seconds, somewhere in the world a woman dies from #breastcancer. Systematic improvements are needed in breast health promotion, early detection, timely diagnosis and treatment. @uicc 

 Source: Globocan 

In 2022, there were an estimated 669,418 deaths from #breastcancer, with a disproportionate number of these deaths occurring in low-resource settings. Raise your voice this #breastcancer awareness month! @uicc 

Source: Globocan 

Did you know that breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer across the globe? Let's stand together and raise awareness. Our collective efforts can change the trajectory of this disease. #breastcancer @uicc  

Source: Globocan 

23% of breast cancer cases are preventable. Taking steps such as maintaining a healthy weight, limiting your alcohol intake and quitting smoking, can help reduce the risk. #breastcancer @uicc 

Source: CRUK  


Breast cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women. The goal: reduce breast cancer mortality by 2.5% per year.  


  • Diagnose breast cancer at an early stage 
  • Deliver a diagnosis in 60 days 
  • Enable patients to access multimodal treatment 

Over a 20-year period this could save 2.5 million lives. #GBCI @uicc  

Source: GBCI  

#Breastcancer deaths disproportionately affect individuals in low- and middle-income countries. In high-income countries, the five-year survival rates exceed 90%, while they remain at 66% in India and 40% in South Africa. @uicc #GBCI  

Source: GBCI  

Since the 1980s, there has been a 40% reduction in #breastcancer mortality in high-income countries. This has yet to be achieved in the majority of low- and middle-income countries. @uicc #GBCI 

Source: GBCI  

Breast cancer social media card
Breast cancer awareness social media card
Breast cancer social media card
Breast cancer awareness social media card
Breast cancer awareness social media card
Breast cancer awareness social media card
Breast cancer awareness social media card
Breast cancer social media card

Breast Cancer Awareness Month videos

UICC members during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

asian women doing a virtual fitness exercise session for breast cancer awareness month.

Discover previous Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaigns from UICC members. They aimed to raise awareness around breast cancer through multiple channels and regions:

  • In China, the Global Chinese Breast Cancer Organizations Alliance organised the hybrid event “Building lives with miracles” (with translation in English) and they intended to break a world record with a fitness challenge.
  • In Ivory Coast, Hope Life organised Slam Rose, a contest of urban poetry to grow awareness about breast cancer in the younger population.
  • In Egypt, Baheya lit the pyramids in pink and launched the “30 days in Pink” campaign.
  • In Mexico, Fundación CIMA launched a virtual sportive event in which participants could walk, run, swim, bike and more, to support breast cancer patients.
  • In Lebanon, the Bread Exam is a bread recipe that implicitly teaches women how to self-check for breast cancer.

To learn how to design messaging and campaigns that appeal to the public based on design-thinking principles and hear from past campaigns of UICC members, you can watch the Virtual Dialogue on “Rethinking Pink October – how to increase engagement with the public virtually”.

Please share your own BCAM campaign through the ICCP portal and view other campaigns from UICC members on the ICCP resource library.

Breast cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer globally. 

Doctor and patient at the Hellenic Cancer Society demonstrating self-exam

In the last decade, UICC has launched a series of initiatives to encourage early detection and improve access to treatment and care.

people around a stand selling pink products

This page regroups resources on breast cancer control such as infographics, videos and articles.

Femama Breast Cancer

UICC’s Breast Cancer programme is designed to respond to the urgent need to accelerate progress in breast cancer.

Last update

Wednesday 07 February 2024

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