As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Whether you are an expecting mom, already have kids, plan on becoming pregnant soon, or a woman who doesn’t fall into any of these categories, this month is an incredibly important time to help our fellow women, and to take care of ourselves so that we can be around for our families for a long time. You may know someone who has been affected by breast cancer, you could be a survivor yourself, or this can be something a little foreign to you. In any case, in your busy year, let October be a time for you to put extra thought into how you can help women in need, how you can protect yourself, and how you can raise awareness for a cancer which affects 1 in 8 American women.
Know Your Facts
The best way to raise awareness for breast cancer is to become aware yourself. If you are lucky enough to have never been affected by it or have known someone who has, you might want to do some research on the topic. Here are some jarring facts to kick start your research.
-In the US, death rates for breast cancer in women are higher than the death rates of any other cancers aside from lung cancer.
-Caucasian and African American women have the highest chances of developing fatal breast cancer, but women of all ethnicity can still be affected.
-A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer doubles if she has a first degree family member (mother, sister, or daughter) who has been diagnosed.
-Still, less than 15% of women with breast cancer have a relative who was diagnosed as well.
-In 2014, 232,670 cases of invasive breast cancer and 62,570 cases of noninvasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed.
-About 40,000 women are expected to die from breast cancer in the US in 2014.
-As of 2014, there were more than 2.8 women in the US with a history of breast cancer.
Start With Yourself
Now that you know that breast cancer is one of the leading killers of women in our country, you probably want to make sure all of your friends and family members get screened ASAP. But don’t forget about yourself! If you get screened, others will want to follow your lead, and you will have more information to share. To get checked out, go to your doctor or gynecologist. Many free clinics also offer free breast cancer screenings. Visit Early Detection Plan to create an early detection plan, and encourage others around you to do the same. Just as you are concerned with your friends and family members, they are equally concerned with you and would be lost without you. Helping yourself is the easiest way to help others- there isn’t much you have control over, but getting yourself checked is something you do.
Now that you have educated yourself about breast cancer, and have gotten screened, it is time to spread the word. Every little thing you do to get the message across helps. Even something as small as posting a Facebook status or a tweet with some facts and resources can have a huge impact on those who see it. Encourage people you know to do some research of their own- Beyond The Shock is a great resource to learn more about breast cancer, ask any questions you may have, communicate with other women, and seek out support for those who have been affected. Having your friends and family members get screened themselves is also a little thing you can do that can potentially save the life of a loved one. If you want to reach out farther, there are many ways you can raise awareness, and money for breast cancer screenings for women in need, and breast cancer research. Visit National Breast Cancer.Org for ways to participate in a fundraiser, hold a fundraiser of your own, or donate money to the cause.
Shop for a Cause
Donating to a good cause can be as fun and easy as going on a shopping spree- literally. Many designers, including Stella McCartney, Anne Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Topshop have collections or pieces dedicated to breast cancer awareness, whose proceeds go towards the cause. Shop Pink is an entire online store that sells pink items of all sorts, with the proceeds going to breast cancer research.