How to Show Your Support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Ah, October! The 1 month of the year when apples are cooler than any other autumn produce and Halloween treats have a nutritional hall pass. Of course, that's just one side of the story. If you take a look around, you'll also see that everything (from your TV screen to billboards) is flooded with bright pink ads and images, reminding us that October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So, if you're ready to do your part and increase awareness for the generations to come, here are 6 easy ways to support the cause.
What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an international health campaign that aims to increase awareness and educate people on breast cancer. Affecting both men and women (but mostly women), the disease accounts for more than 40,000 deaths each year (1). To put these numbers into perspective, just think that 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in her life.
The good news is that despite its aggressive nature, breast cancer is preventable, especially during its early stages - and that's where Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes in. The charities and organizations involved make a legit effort to raise funds for in-depth research and a potential cure (even though there are still huge steps that need to be made). So, if you want to be part of something this big and protect yourself and everyone you love in the process, here's what you can do to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
6 Ways to Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month
1. Educate Yourself
Not to scare anyone here, but experts (2) suggest that even though cancer mortality rates are declining in people between the ages of 20 and 49, breast cancer is still going strong. In part, that's because many people are still not educated on the diagnosis and early treatment of the disease. After all, women under the age of 40 and the majority of guys don't get regular mammograms, and they have to rely on "manual examinations" for any malicious signs.
So, one of the first things you can do to increase awareness on breast cancer is to educate yourself. From learning how to check yourself through infographics(3) to getting schooled on all the facts (from the symptoms to the socio-economic factors involved), there are many ways to know exactly what to do to prevent the disease.
It's also worth mentioning that for years now, breast cancer was considered a population-centric problem, with white women being the center of attention. These days, experts make a genuine effort to educate us on how the disease isn't just a threat for white women, but for every group out there, including women of color (4) and guys (5).
2. Check in with Your Doctor
While monthly self-exams are an easy way to check for breast abnormalities such as lumps, swelling, and nipple discharge, visiting with your doctor could also help in early detection. After all, there are cases when such signs don't make an appearance, but the disease is well underway.
With that in mind, make sure you get regular (annual) mammograms, especially if you're at or above the age of 40. If you're younger than that, chances are your doctor won't recommend a mammogram, unless you detect something really worrisome during your self-exams. Of course, if you're at a high-risk group (say, if your breast tissue is really dense or if your family has a history of breast cancer), you should consult with him/her about early screenings.
3. Live & Breathe Pink
One of the easiest ways to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to think pink. From wearing the now famous pink ribbon all month long to making casual pink Friday a thing, there are endless ways to spread awareness on the cause. You can even hand out lapel pins on Pink Ribbon Day (October 24th, by the way) and have everyone at your work sport one throughout the day.
But, since we're big foodies around here, we have another tastier suggestion for embracing the all-pink movement: eat all the pink food you can get! Of course, that doesn't mean you should indulge in every cute, sugary treat that crosses your path because come November, your waist will hate you. Instead, stock up on a bunch of healthy pink goodies like these freeze dried raspberries or these whole strawberries. Fighting breast cancer never tasted better!!
4. Harness the Power of Social Media
Putting on a pink ribbon on your chest and hoping someone will see it is one way to get the word out. But, if you really want to make an impact and reach out to hundreds of people in one go, there's no better place to start than your social media accounts.
From Twitter to Instagram to Facebook, you can dedicate a heartfelt post to all breast cancers survivors out there and end it with a cause-driven hashtag or cute pink ribbon emoji. You can even join thousands of likeminded folks and help raise money by downloading apps, joining groups or participating in online campaigns.
Don't know where to start? Here's a short list of a few campaigns that are worth your follow:
Another easy way to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to volunteer. In fact, if you're a sociable person with excellent communication skills, this is hands down the best way to get the word out. So, choose a campaign that's close to your heart, and make it your mission to spend time as much time on it as possible. And if you're wondering, there are countless volunteer opportunities out there, from becoming a mentor (if you're a breast cancer survivor) to cutting your hair for wigs. In some cases, you may be asked to prepare and execute certain events such as races and bake sales. Sounds fun, right?
If you want to help out the cause but lack time to spend on event planning, you could always make a financial donation to a campaign of your choice. That said: pick a charity that makes sense to you, and donate as much as you can. Don't forget that you don't have to go big; if you can't as small contributions can also make a difference. Of course, if you want to max out your donation, make sure you buy products that give 100% of their proceeds to respective charities.
So, how are you going to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Any special plans? Let us know in the comments down below!
- Tags: breast cancer awareness