October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is a time to educate, raise awareness of the disease, and promote research. Some educational statistics are:
About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime.
The risk for men developing breast cancer is 1 in 833.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer around the world as of 2021.
Around 85% of breast cancer cases occur in women with no family history of breast cancer
While the two most significant risk factors for breast cancer cannot be changed: getting older and being a woman, there are ways to help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
A monthly breast self-exam is one of the primary ways to prevent and supply early detection of breast cancer. Women aged 40 and older should have an annual mammogram and physical by a doctor. Discussing risk factors, such as alcohol consumption, being overweight, smoking, using Hormone Replacement Therapy, and lack of exercise, with your doctor and how to mitigate the risks could help prevent breast cancer. According to BreastCancer.org, Chief Medical Officer, Marias Weiss M.D., says, “Some steps yield instant payoff—like stopping hormone replacement therapy or catching up on lost sleep. Other steps require a lot of work overtime before payday-like maintaining a healthy weight. Set your goals and strive to do the best you can on an everyday basis!”
Several organizations work to raise public awareness, supply educational programs, and help fund research for breast cancer. We’ve listed a few below in case you would like more information or learn how to get involved.
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) was founded by Evelyn Lauder, a breast cancer survivor, her husband Leonard, and Dr. Larry Norton. They believed that funding was the only obstacle between breast cancer and a cure. Lauder along with Alexandra Penney, former editor-in-chief of Self magazine, co-created the original pink ribbon launched in 1992. To find out more about fundraising with BRCF, visit Fundraise for BCRF – Campaign.
Susan G. Komen
Founded in 1982, the mission of the Susan G. Komen, also known as the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, “is to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.” (Susan G. Komen, 2021) In August 2021 Susan G. Komen launched a new initiative called Stand for H.E.R.- a Health Equity Revolution. The initiative is an effort to lower the gap in breast cancer mortality between Black and white women. Visit Breast Cancer Foundation | Susan G. Komen® to join a race or walk, donate, and find breast cancer answers.
To further our support of women, let us seek ways to increase our spending on women-owned businesses. One organization dedicated to assisting with this effort is the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) through its 7 Simple Ways to Make One Switch to Buy Women-Owned: WBENC program.
Events during the month are Pink Week 2021 from October 5-7, National Mammography Day on the third Friday of October, and Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week which occurs the third week of October. Check-in your area for special events to raise awareness and support those with breast cancer.
If you’d like to research other resources, try this suggestion from one of our readers: Global Breast Cancer Resources for Patients, Survivors, and Their Loved Ones.