How to Join Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 2014
If you live in the United States, the United Kingdom or any developing nation, you probably know at least one woman with breast cancer. Statistics tells us that approximately one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point – so if you’re not personally connected to a cancer patient or survivor at the moment, chances are someday, you will be.
Breast cancer is widespread (the World Health Organization called it the “top cancer” amongst women around the globe), it’s the product of both genes and lifestyle, and it’s deadly. But at least there’s some good news: early detection tests including self-exams, biopsies and mammograms can greatly increase a cancer patient’s chances of survival. Likewise, women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by making simple but important lifestyle choices: eating well, keeping active, and reducing alcohol and tobacco use.
Fighting breast cancer takes awareness, because through education men and women learn about the importance of cancer prevention and early diagnostic tools. In October every year, breast cancer advocates make their message even louder in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (Look out for those little pink ribbons). So what can you do to get involved this October? Read on.
1. Host a Fundraiser
Mammograms save lives, and the American Cancer Society recommends that every woman age 40 and over should go in for a screening mammogram every year. However, many women without health insurance don’t feel they can afford this service, and in lower-income countries regular screenings are even more of a financial challenge.
To help women in your city or around the world afford mammograms, host a fundraiser this October. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. websitehas some great fundraising ideas: you could have a bakesale, put on a benefit concert or join a marathon and charitable pledges for your participation.
Of course, it’s important to find a trustworthy recipient to take all the money you raise. Research local health charities and see if you can find a reputable group with experience getting breast cancer screening and treatment to women in your area. Alternatively, donate your funds straight to an international organization such as Cancer Research UK – that way you’ll be helping cancer patients as well as donating directly toward scientific efforts to find a cure.
2. Join a Community Event
If you don’t have the time to organize your own fundraiser, attend a community breast cancer event instead. Many different businesses and venues will hold a gathering this October, so keep your eyes open – is the local ice cream shop doing a scoop-for-donation cancer research afternoon? Or perhaps there’s a walk-for-the-cure relay sponsored by a local school? Read local media extra closely this October, and ask friends and family what they’re planning to do in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Attendees at breast cancer awareness events often choose to donate money along with their time, but don’t forgo participation just because you’re a bit strapped for cash. Instead of giving money, sign up to volunteer at the next event, or just make a personal pledge – if you wish! – to donate next time.
3. Make a Plan
Doctors and cancer advocates encourage every woman to have a breast cancer early detection plan, because when breast cancer is caught in its initial stages, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.
There are many internet resources and smartphone apps to help you create an early detection plan. Your plan might include a record of past self-exams and official screenings, with an alarm set to remind you when it’s time for your next test. Talk about your plan with friends and family, and encourage them to create their own plans – it’s an especially important step for women older than 40 with a family history of breast cancer.
If you need more help making a plan, check out the Early Detection Plan: Breast Cancer app for iPhones and Android. Created by the National Breast Cancer Foundation of the United States, this app is an extremely useful tool for keeping track of doctors’ appointments, locations and contact information, and for learning more about the early signs of breast cancer.
4. Show Support on Social Media
Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all fantastic tools for reaching a broad audience when you have something important to say. In October, show your support for breast cancer research and awareness by posting weekly (or daily!) messages to educate others about breast cancer. For example, you might post pictures of inspirational cancer survivors, including Kylie Minogue, Cynthia Nixon, Dame Maggie Smith, or even a member of your own family who’s given the go-ahead to talk about her on social media. A simple statement of cancer research support is changing your profile picture to a pink ribbon for the entirety of the month.
Social media is also a great place to share videos, so have a look on YouTube for celebrity endorsements of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Angelina Jolie is an inspiring speaker on the issue!) that you think your friends might like to see. More awareness means more women understanding the importance of early detection screening, and that saves lives.
5. Wear Pink
It’s a simple yet powerful statement; one that doesn’t take a ton of effort but gets people talking. Choose one day this October and wear only pink, head to toe. When friends and colleagues ask why, start a conversation about breast cancer and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. See how much they know about cancer statistics and the importance of early detection, and listen to their personal experiences with the disease.
If you’re shy about being the only one dressed up like a dahlia, make it a social happening and invite friends to dress in pink too – for a night out, a brunch, or just a day at the office. When there’s a whole group of you wearing pink, the message will get out even quicker: something is going on here, and it needs to be discussed.
Men can get involved too: why not wear pink for a good cause? A rosy tie or shirt or even a pair of cheeky peachy socks are all great ways to start a conversation about breast cancer and the importance of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Dealing with breast cancer can be a very traumatic time for you or your loved ones and the last thing you want to worry about is your finances. Our expert advisors are always on hand and can discuss your health insurance options with you, or simply answer any other questions you may have so feel free to give us a call!