Every October since 1985, millions throughout the world get involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign that increases awareness of a disease that afflicts approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States.
The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it is detected early enough. This is why education and awareness are so important.
Here are 10 ways you can get involved during Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
1. Wear pink. A pink ribbon is an international symbol for breast cancer. Wearing a pink ribbon - or pink clothes - is an easy way to show your support for those who are fighting breast cancer. Pick out your favorite pink outfit and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Pink nails, pink hair, pink makeup, pink bracelets – pink anything. Be creative in “thinking pink” this October.
2. Volunteer. There are numerous local and national volunteer organizations that raise awareness for breast cancer. Many people volunteer for the American Cancer Society (ACS), a nationwide voluntary health organization committed to eliminating cancer. Established in 1913, the ACS has many volunteer programs and events, such as Relay For Life, Road to Recovery, and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Click here to learn more about how you can get involved.
3. Help a cancer patient. There are numerous ways you can help a loved one who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. You can help organize meal deliveries, rides, and other tasks to assist your loved one. You can help bring together the patient’s family, friends, and coworkers by helping support your loved one through an online social network and planner. CaringBridge makes it easy to keep everyone updated about your loved one’s diagnosis. Friends and family can stay connected and leave messages of love and encouragement.
4. Share facts and statistics. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. and American Cancer Society both offer outstanding resources to learn more about breast cancer. Here are some facts and stats from those organizations:
- Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women.
- Every 2 minutes, a female is diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Every 13 minutes, one woman will die of breast cancer.
- Today, there are more than 3.3 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.
- Breast cancer does not just happen to women. 1 in 1,000 men will receive a breast cancer diagnosis.
- Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Only 5-10% of people diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of the disease.
5. Educate yourself and others about cancer screenings. Many women never expected to receive a breast cancer diagnosis until it happened to them. Knowing the risks of developing breast cancer can help in early detection, which makes cancer more treatable.
Spread awareness of breast cancer by telling your female friends and family to get mammograms educating them on how to check breasts for abnormalities. You can lead by example. Many clinics offer free mammograms in October. Schedule your mammogram, and hopefully, your friends and family will follow your lead.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides breast cancer screenings to low-income and uninsured women across the country. Click here to find free or low-cost breast cancer screenings near you.
6. Decorate a bulletin board. Tap into your creative side and decorate a bulletin board in a highly trafficked area at your workplace. Encourage your coworkers to use their talents to raise awareness. You could write some facts and statistics about breast cancer, or you could create a themed board, such as a:
- Support/Tribute Board. Encourage others to write a message of support to someone they know who is fighting breast cancer. They could also include notes to survivors or those who passed away from breast cancer.
- Pink Tree Board. Collect donations throughout October. For those who donate, have them trace their hand on pink construction paper and add it to the tree on your bulletin board. It will be fun and encouraging to watch the tree “grow” throughout the month as everyone lends their support.
7. Fund research initiatives. Research initiatives are vital in the quest to find a cure for breast cancer. They can also help us discover more effective prevention methods and treatment options.
The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) is seeking answers as to why breast cancer occurs in certain women and discovering better treatment methods. Since 1973, the NFCR has been providing funds to cancer researchers and scientists. People throughout the country have raised money in their community – from hosting raffles to art and sporting events. To learn more about fundraising opportunities for these research initiatives, click here.
8. Participate in a run or a walk. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the largest and most successful breast cancer fundraising and education organization in the world. The organization runs the Komen Race for the Cure, a series of 5K runs and walks around the country. The organization also has the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, a 60-mile, 3-day event. Proceeds from these events fund breast cancer research. Click here to find a Komen Race for the Cure near you.
9. Create your own fundraiser. Having a car wash, lemonade stand, bake sale, yard sale, or other DIY event with the proceeds going to a breast cancer charity is a fantastic way to support a good cause.
10. Share “Beyond The Shock.” This free resource is a comprehensive online guide and app that helps women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer better understand the disease. Users can watch inspirational videos from survivors sharing their stories.
These 10 ways are just to the tip of the iceberg. There are countless ways you can show your support for breast cancer awareness. And it doesn’t just have to be during the month of October as thousands of women are fighting breast cancer year-round. You can make a positive impact; even it’s something as simple as taking the time to listen to a patient’s story and showing your concern.
The START Center for Cancer Care in San Antonio provides cutting-edge cancer treatment backed by a commitment to advancing cancer care. Our highly skilled and qualified team works hard to offer each cancer patient a comprehensive treatment plan that includes multi-specialty services, targeted therapies, genetic profiling of tumors, state-of-the-art treatment technology, and easy access to clinical research options. For more information about how we can help you or a loved one in the fight against breast cancer, call 210-593-5700 today.