TOP 10 WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE DURING BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. In fact, more than 300,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women across America in 2019 alone, and it’s the most common cancer among women worldwide.
As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to take a moment to recognize the women (and men) battling breast cancer and support them in their fight. If you’re not already involved, you can join the cause, too. Here are our top 10 ways to increase breast cancer awareness, no matter where you live, work and play.
“IMG_4224” (CC BY 2.0) by Dmitri Beljan
Monetary donations allow researchers and humanitarian organizations to support patients and their families before, during and after a breast cancer diagnosis. You’ll see an increase in fundraising and solicitation of donations this month, so we encourage you to research each organization to make sure your money is being spent as you’d like it to be. Of the 12 top-rated cancer charities listed on CharityWatch.org, three are specifically focused on breast cancer prevention.
2. Walk or Run
Each October, cities across America host a countless number of awareness-boosting walks and runs, held in hopes of helping further the fight against breast cancer. These events can draw tens of thousands of participants, with proceeds used to support participating organizations. As with monetary donations, we’d encourage you to make sure you know where your entry fee is going.
If you’re not a runner (or a walker), there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer on race day. Even better, you can volunteer at hospitals or for breast cancer organizations themselves—in almost any facet of service. Contact your local cancer hospital, charities, or foundations to determine which ones are doing the work you feel is most important, then find your place in the fight.
One of the most popular trends—especially on social media—is asking family members and those close to you to support an organization of your choice instead of giving presents. Facebook has made it easy to create fundraisers for charitable organizations and personal causes. Other less tech-focused options include hosting “home-based” social gatherings—where all participants donate whatever money they would have spent if you’d gone out on the town—head-shaving events and t-shirt sales. The possibilities are endless!
5. Get educated
One of the best ways to take control of your health (or the health of those you love) is to get educated about breast cancer symptoms, self-awareness techniques, treatment options and what your next step might be. Free information can be found online or in-person at your doctor’s office or diagnostic imaging center, as well as from local breast cancer charities, organizations and hospitals.
6. Get screened
No matter your genetics, family history or risk level, breast cancer screening is the best early detection method of finding breast cancer before physical symptoms appear. American Cancer Society guidelines state that women ages 40-44 should have the choice to begin annual screening (via mammogram), women ages 45-54 should get mammograms each year, and women 55+ should have the opportunity to switch to bi-yearly mammograms if they’d prefer.
7. Share your story
If you or someone you love has been affected by breast cancer, your personal account might be one that encourages someone who’s currently facing their own battle, comforts someone dealing with incredible loss or empowers another woman to get screened for the first time. You are brave, you are strong, and you have an experience unlike anyone else—one that can impact the world around you.
8. Assist with research efforts
From writing letters of awareness to elected officials to serving as a participant or an adviser in post-treatment clinical trials, there are many opportunities in which you can directly affect where our leaders allocate funds and what potential treatment options reach the next stage of development. For more information, contact your health care provider or the research office of your local university, hospital, or cancer organization.
9. Shop, wear or drink pink
During October, many online and retail stores host fundraising events geared toward supporting breast cancer research. Promotions vary greatly, from creating and selling commemorative t-shirts to donating a portion of their monthly proceeds to specific organizations. So, as you wine, dine and shop this month, look around and see who’s in the fight with you.
10. Share your support
“DSC_0416” (CC BY 2.0) by Wolf’s Nikon1
Whether you’re wearing pink to work or spending time serving patients and their families at your local cancer center, there’s a story to be told. It works even if you’re behind a desk—research shows that there are more than 3.48 million social media users in today’s world. So if someone asks why, let them know! If you’re participating in a post or donated to a charity that is aligned with your mission to raise breast cancer awareness, post about it! You never know who you’ll reach—or how far your reach can go.