Developing a Health Advocacy Campaign – Breast Cancer

Introduction

Breast cancer dominates the other cancers affecting women in the world in terms of prevalence. In every three cancer diagnosis made in the United States, one is a breast cancer case. Breast cancers are malignant tumors that grow in the fatty and fibrous mass in a breast affecting both the outlook and internal structure of the breast. Tumors in the breast may either be invasive or non-invasive. Invasive or the spreading cancer is the most common of the breast cancers and three in four patients with breast cancer have the invasive type.  When invasive cancer attacks the breast tissues, they spread and overwhelm the mass of the breast resulting to medical emergencies if not arrested in time.

Read more on Human Breast Anatomy

Advocacy campaigns in America

Cancer is a curable disease if the symptoms are detected early and curative measures adopted expeditiously. Different methods of fighting cancer involve the use of radiotherapy, chemotherapy or some involving surgery that have been effective in eliminating cancer in various patients. The need to detect cancer in its early stages for remedial measures to be effective requires that the campaign against cancer puts a lot of emphasis on early detection mechanisms. In the United States, various advocacy groups have emerged with the sole intention of spreading awareness as a way of reducing the scourge. Amongst them is an advocacy group called the NFL Goes Pink which brings the topic of early screening in the limelight especially in the month of October which is the breast cancer awareness month (Roehr, 2012). The NFL is popular and watched throughout America making any campaign that it embraces to have a broad audience. The emphasis of its advocacy is captured in the slogan A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Lives which serves to tell the American public that annual screening would make all the difference between eliminating the disease and succumbing to it. The campaign is effective in its reach and capacity to fundraise for the effort. The estimated viewership of campaigns by the NFL is over a hundred million for the duration of the campaign (Roehr, 2012).

Another advocacy campaign in the United States is the Avon Foundation charitable wing which has a long history of fundraising for the purposing of spreading awareness of breast cancer (Laurence, 2015). The contribution of the advocacy group in the society is to spread awareness to as many people as possible so that they can avail themselves for annual medical checkups.

Attributes Making the Campaigns Effective

The reason the two advocacy campaign programs have been successful is that of their use of mass communication media to reach a wider audience. The NFL is guaranteed a sizeable viewership and the fact that a popular male-dominated sport can devote sufficient time to address medical issues that affect the opposite gender is a lure to the American public. The Avon Foundation awareness derives interests from the public by coming up with catchy ways of attracting attention. Their Facebook page is stylized with pink additives like pink tint and ribbons in solidarity with those affected by breast cancer.

Proposed health advocacy campaign

Women in reproductive ages are especially prone to breast and cervical cancer especially those in low and middle-income demographics. The reason for the higher incidence of cancer in the segment is that they do not adhere to the requirement of the annual checkup to keep cancer at bay. An effective advocacy campaign would be successful it managed to sensitize the poor in the society on the need to keep on checking their health prognosis on a more regular basis and preferably annually.

The objectives of the policy to be adopted should be:

  1. Ensuring mass enlightenment and sensitization on the need to be regularly tested for cancer or if sexually active, Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
  2. Providing cancer screening at minimal or no cost
  1. Facilitate genetic testing to persons who susceptibility to disease if patients have a history of cancer in the family
  2. Improve access to medical intervention to individuals affected by the disease

Studies have shown that the survival rates of breast and prostate cancer patients that are detected early are at a 100% and 98% respectively. Once identified and remedial measures successfully adopted, the survival rate for the following decade are high. Clinical trials have also shown that mammography plays a critical role in ensuring early intervention that saves the lives of approximately 15% of the affected. Early screening is therefore immensely important in shaping the intervention and initial success of patients. Adopting a comprehensive strategy that ensures every affected individual access health care programs designed to reduce the extent of cancer would be the goal of the advocacy program proposed. As posted by Anderson et al. (2008), early detection improves the survival rates of breast cancer patients and should be the cornerstone of any breast cancer control program. If the propositions in this paper are adopted, the rate of breast cancer in the society will receive the requisite attention and intervention.

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