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A Brief History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month


The women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s brought awareness about female health and wellness to the forefront and cleared the path for breast cancer awareness as well. During that tumultuous time, activists were speaking out, holding women’s liberation conferences, and conducting research about the female anatomy in ways they never had before. Books like Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, commercially published in 1973 and originally published in pamphlet form under the title Women and their Bodies in 1970, were breaking down barriers around talking about women’s health in a way that the general public could access even if they couldn’t make it to a demonstration or gathering. Due to these actions, women’s health education was on the rise and more and more women were equipped with information that enabled them to advocate for themselves both in and out of the doctor’s office.

When first lady Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery for it in 1974, she made the choice to not shy away from talking about what had happened to her. She came out and told the world about her experiences. This helped to reduce the stigma of talking about the disease and encouraged women to get in for screenings and to seek treatment. Her announcement, which was one of the first about breast cancer by a public figure, made such an impact on breast cancer awareness that women flooded doctor’s offices around the country seeking their own assessments. So many more women were screened for, and subsequently diagnosed with, breast cancer that this surge was nicknamed “the Betty Ford blip.” This led a number of other celebrities and influential people to get their own diagnoses and share their stories which broadened the discussion even further.

A little more than a decade later in 1985, The American Cancer Society, joined by what is now oncology-drug producer Astra Zeneca and other supporters in the industry, founded National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), marking October as the month to launch programming and other breast cancer awareness efforts around. And Betty Ford was there, along with her daughter Susan, to kick off NBCAM’s first year as a spokesperson.

Now, nearly thirty years later, national cancer organizations across the country focus their efforts and educating the public and helping provide access to screenings and other early detection measures.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), awareness is directly responsible for a decrease in death rates since it helps to improve treatment options and encourages people to get screened.

One great way to help the cause is to increase awareness through custom breast cancer shirts. Whether you’re participating in, or organizing, a run or a walk and are looking for team names and design ideas or attending an event in October with your group, breast cancer shirts can help remind people of this important issue everywhere you go. Maximize your impact by turning any of your t-shirt design ideas into a t-shirt fundraiser and you can raise extra money for your run, walk, or favorite charity through selling t-shirts online. Check out our Breast Cancer Awareness Month Team and October Breast Cancer Awareness Group t-shirt ideas below.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month team t-shirt design ideas

Your Team Your Cause

your team your cause custom breast cancer awareness shirt

Fill in your team name and who or what you’re turning out for with this contemporary breast cancer shirt design that is so easy to customize.

Team Pink Pals

team pink pals breast cancer awareness custom shirt

Team shirts can really bring your people together so if you’re doing a walk or a run, get these warmups to gear up your group.

Hope for a Cure Breast Cancer Walk

hope for a cure breast cancer walk custom shirt

Commemorate this year’s event with a beautiful design reminding everyone of what you’re coming together for.

Stronger than Cancer

Stronger than cancer custom breast cancer awareness shirt

Fill in the name of the person you are there for and support her all day, month, or year-long with this important reminder to stay strong.

Fight Cancer

fight cancer breast cancer awareness shirt

Remind them that “I Can” is at the center of “Fight Cancer” and galvanize your group with this custom breast cancer shirt.

October Breast Cancer Awareness group shirt ideas

In October We Wear Pink

in october we wear pink custom breast cancer shirt

Get your friends together and show everyone that the cool kids keep breast cancer awareness top of mind all through the month of October.

Check One, Check Two

check one check two breast cancer awareness custom shirt

Monthly self-exams are important to breast health. What better way to keep that top of mind than with a custom t-shirt?

Pink is the New Black

pink is the new black custom breast cancer awareness shirt

Show your style in a shirt that subtly reminds people to think about what pink means now and how they can protect themselves and get the word out to others.

However you choose to represent it, getting the word out about the importance of breast cancer screenings is something that’s easy to do and can have a massive impact on those around you. So suit up with your friends and show off your breast cancer shirts with pride.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out some of our other breast cancer awareness stories:

43 Breast Cancer Team Names

41 Breast Cancer Slogans & Sayings

22 Breast Cancer T-shirt Designs

Pink Team Names


Miellyn is the Copy Manager at Custom Ink. Her work has spanned marketing for television networks like TLC and Travel, educational content for Smithsonian and National Geographic, marketing and story for indie video games, essays for publishers including Random House, The Telegraph, and Smart Pop Books, and stories for press outlets like VICE and VH1.

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