October 13: What is No Bra Day and why are people celebrating it?

DURING lockdown, everyday pretty much became a "No Bra Day" – but on 13 October, it takes on a very special significance.

Today, people all over the world are ditching bras to spread awareness for breast cancer.

What is No Bra Day?

The commemorative holiday – which sits within Breast Cancer Awareness Month – honours victims and survivors of the disease.

No Bra Day used to be celebrated on July 9 of every year since 2011 but was moved to the 13th day of October which sits within Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The original event known as "BRA Day" was started by Canadian plastic surgeon Dr. Mitchell Brown.

Dr. Brown wanted to encourage breast cancer survivors to consider getting reconstructive surgery.

He founded Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day at Women's College Hospital and Toronto General Hospital.

Additionally, the BRA day event intended to raise awareness of breast cancer screening, alert women to breast cancer symptoms, and to encourage women to conduct regular self examinations. 

The event was adopted in the US and became a holiday known as No Bra Day in 2012.

How do people celebrate?

The social media hashtag #NoBraDay resurfaces every October 13 and women share photos of them wearing no bras all over the social platforms. 

More than 82,000 women posted pictures on Twitter and Instagram in 2017.

Some breast cancer survivors also take the opportunity to post photos of their mastectomies or encourage others to get tested and donate to breast cancer research foundations. 

One Twitter user said: “#NoBraDay is for breast cancer awareness. Let's be guided."


Ways to observe #NoBraDay

The holiday is observed every October 13 because it is Breast Cancer Awareness month

  • Set a reminder in your calendar to complete monthly breast exams
  • Share your experience with getting a mammogram to reduce fears others may have
  • Organize a fundraiser to support breast cancer research or to fund mammograms for the needy
  • Make a list of questions about breast cancer to ask your doctor

 

Another added: “Ladies as we all freeing the breast today don't forget to get it tested too. #NoBraDay.”

In 2012, about 400,000 individuals took part in No Bra Day, and 250,000 of those were posts shared on Facebook.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the name given to any cancers that have first developed in the breast tissue – there are many different types.

Nearly 1,000 people die from breast cancer every month in the UK, with the disease killing around 11,500 women and 80 men each year.

However, thanks to advances in medical research and early prevention, more people are surviving breast cancer than ever before.

Breast Cancer Symptoms:

  • A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit
  • A change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
  • A change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
  • A nipple change, for example it has become pulled in (inverted)
  • Rash or crusting around the nipple
  • Unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple
  • Changes in size or shape of the breast
  • Pain in the breast or armpit – although this alone is not usually a sign of breast cancer, look out for persistent pain that's there all the time 

While it is more common in older women, it does affect the younger generation and men too – with around 20 per cent of cases occurring in females under 50 and 350 male cases diagnosed in the UK annually.

What are the breast cancer symptoms in women?

For most women, the first sign or symptom of breast cancer is a lump or area of thickened tissue in their breast.

While 90 per cent of such lumps are not cancerous, it is vital to get them checked by your GP at the earliest opportunity – detecting the disease early can mean treatment is more effective.

It is therefore vitally important to be "breast aware" – know what feels normal for you, and therefore what changes to look out for.

One in three women do not regularly check their breasts, and a fifth of these women say it is because they don't know how to do it.

However, while the majority of women know to feel for unusual lumps and bumps, there are also other, less understood signs and symptoms.

Mr Kislaya Thakur, an expert at BMI The Blackheath Hospital in South London, said: "The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump usually found by patients themselves.

"However other symptoms can indicate breast cancer.

"These include blood stained nipple discharge, nipple inversion or flattening, dimpling or tethering – including an orange-peel appearance – of the skin over the breast, lumps in the armpit or neck, or any redness which may suggest inflammation or persistent pain."

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