NEW YORK (Reuters) - The pink ribbon symbol of breast cancer awareness is now 30 years old.
Co-created by businesswoman Evelyn Lauder, the ribbon reminds women to get medical checkups and appears on products sold with a promise that part of the proceeds will be donated to support breast cancer awareness or research.
Lauder, who died in 2011, was inspired by the red ribbon symbol for AIDS awareness, and founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993.
"My mother said that there are more women diagnosed with breast cancer every day than there are people who are diagnosed with AIDS, and it affects one in eight women," said William P. Lauder, executive chairman of Estee Lauder Companies Inc and son of Evelyn.
"And we know October now ... is Breast Cancer Awareness Month."
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is about one in 39, or about 2.5%.
Estee Lauder said its foundations have funded more than $108 million for global research, education and medical services, and it works with more than 60 organizations that serve local communities worldwide.
Breast cancer death rates have fallen steadily since 1989, according to the American Cancer Society, but there is still more to do, said Dr. Larry Norton, medical director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
"It would be even greater if we could actually take the advance that we've made in diagnosis and therapy and apply it to a larger segment, hopefully all the American population," he said.
Dr. Karen Knudsen, chief executive of the American Cancer Society, said the three decades of the pink ribbon campaign had helped raise awareness and spur increased research.
"I really appreciate the power of the pink ribbon and the power of women in that story," she said.
(Reporting by Alicia Powell; Editing by Richard Chang)
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