This article is the first part of a series on breast cancer research efforts that will continue throughout October.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month PictureOctober is here. The sun is setting earlier and that warm evening breeze is slowly getting chillier, reminding us that it is officially fall. What does that mean? Pumpkin spice lattes, thanksgiving (and leftover turkey sandwiches), Halloween, and the Pink Ribbon. That’s right – It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). You may be wondering why a whole month is dedicated to Breast Cancer awareness when, as a community, we are well aware of the disease. BCAM is more than just telling the community about Breast Cancer.

Since its inception in 1986, BCAM represents an opportunity for communities to come together, not only to harmonize fundraising efforts but to celebrate our progress in overcoming breast cancer. Indeed, fundraising has enabled critical improvements in treatment, prevention, diagnostic tools, and care. It is one of the many steps we can take to encourage more people to take action to stop this disease in its tracks. This can manifest in many forms such as support, fundraising, spreading the word, and encouraging women to be proactive about their health.

Over the past 75 years, advocacy groups such as The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) have played integral roles in promoting awareness and prevention of Breast Cancer across the country. It has enabled some amazing results. Breast cancer death rates have dropped by 40% since 1986. In women highly susceptible to developing Breast Cancer, CCS-funded drug development has resulted in a 65% reduction in incidences. And our list of successes is growing.

As researchers, watching our community come together and support organizations like CCS motivates us to work harder toward fighting breast cancer. You, as survivors, supporters, and activists, raise awareness and funds for us to keep going. This month the Toronto Research Information Outreach Team (R.I.O.T.) wants you to meet a few people whose work you influence. We will be featuring three specialists in the field of breast cancer who will give us three different perspectives on this topic. For each week in October, our guests will tell us about ways in which research has impacted their work. Make sure to check back this Friday October 16th for part two of our breast cancer series where we will interview surgical oncologist Dr. Alexandra Easson and share her perspective on the progress and promise of breast cancer research.

This series is being written by Nandini Raghuram and Nathan Schachter, PhD students working at the Hospital for Sick Children studying the molecular mechanisms of how breast cancer develops and spreads. To learn more about Nandini and Nathan check out their bios on our members page.

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