Health awareness campaigns and diagnosis rates: evidence from National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

J Health Econ. 2011 Jan;30(1):55-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2010.11.005. Epub 2010 Dec 4.


Awareness campaigns are often used to encourage medical screening that allows for early detection of health problems, but much remains unknown about the effectiveness of these programs. This paper evaluates whether National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) has led to increased diagnosis of breast cancer. The analysis examines the number of diagnoses made in November (1 month after NBCAM) during years before and after NBCAM was initiated. We find that from 1993 to 1995, the period when breast cancer advocacy was expanding rapidly into a nationwide movement, NBCAM led to an increase in the number of November diagnoses. During earlier periods (from the mid-1980s to the early-1990s), when breast cancer advocacy was still a nascent grassroots movement, and in later periods, when breast cancer advocacy had become a well-established nationwide cause, there is little evidence that October NBCAM events had an effect on November diagnoses.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / trends
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States