While breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American women, the number of related deaths has fallen by about 2% every year since 1990. As more people have learned about this potentially fatal disease and have committed to spreading awareness throughout the nation, advances in research and technology have allowed for an increase in early detection and treatment methods.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 178,480 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. But it’s not only a concern for women: did you know that breast cancer can affect men too? Around 1,600 men will also be diagnosed.
Everyone can be affected, and everyone can get involved to promote breast cancer awareness and keep pushing for advancement. There is even a national organization of men, Men Against Breast Cancer, working to learn about breast cancer, raise awareness, and be effective caregivers if a woman in their life is touched.
So what is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and how can I help?
Over 20 years ago, a group of organizations, medical associations, and government agencies came together, combining their resources and knowledge to “build breast cancer awareness, share information and provide access to screening services.” Well, in the last 20 years, we have all become much more conscious of the importance of early detection. Everyone recognizes the pink ribbon that is a symbol of breast cancer awareness, and many of us have been personally touched by the disease. The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization works year-round to provide information and services, and has a list of ways you can help promote NBCAM, become a program leader, take initiatives at your workplace, get media attention, and more on their website at www.nbcam.org.
There are many ways you can get involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Whether you have time, money, or support to give, here are some great initiatives you can take part in:
Start a Fundraising Team
Working with a group of people, you can have a great time planning many different fundraisers. Start a website or blog to document your successes, challenges, and of course, post photos from your fundraisers! Here is a great example of a fundraising team holding yard sales, spaghetti dinners, car washes, fundraising nights at local pubs and restaurants, creating and selling jewellery, and more. Their website is set up on wordpress.com, a site that lets anyone set up a website for free – and it’s very easy too.
Participate in Events
– Take part in a fundraising walk to raise awareness and money this month. The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk takes place in cities across America. To find out when the event will take place in the city nearest you and how you can register, visit the Making Strides website.
– You can also participate in the Komen Race for the Cure in some cities this October, and many more breast cancer awareness activities throughout the year.
Use the Internet
– Promote awareness on your website or in your social networking profile. Have a Facebook account? You can join over 775,000 members of the group “Join to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month ” and many more groups working to promote awareness.
The organization Susan G.Komen for the Cure is also working to get 1,000,000 members to add a pink ribbon to their profile with the new Pink Ribbon App. Everyone can help by inviting friends to these kinds of groups and applications online, on MySpace, Facebook, or on your own website.
– Put a pink ribbon on your website
– Order pink ribbon lollipops to sell in your workplace or at events
– Shop online to buy products from organizations working to find the cure. The profits will help advance the cause, while at the same time, the products you use will help to spread the message.
– Educate yourself about breast cancer so you can help others learn about it too. You can find information on any of the websites mentioned so far. If you or somebody you know is affected by breast cancer, a great organization to check out is Cancer Care, a national non profit organization that provides free support services to all those dealing with cancer in their lives, whether a patient, loved one, or caregiver. The Breast Cancer Network of Strength provides a 24-hour hotline staffed by cancer survivors.
Make a Donation
Most organizations working to promote awareness and find a cure for breast cancer accept donations online.
Find More Ways to Get Involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month
And Finally …
Don’t forget to wear your pink ribbon!