In the United States, more than 200,000 women and 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. With the exception of certain types of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, regardless of race or ethnicity.
However, thanks to recent efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer and find more effective treatment options, we are making great strides in prevention and early diagnosis and thus early treatment of the disease. This, in turn, has greatly increased the patient survival rate. In fact, currently, the five-year survival rate of women with breast cancer who were diagnosed early is over 90 percent.
Let’s continue to raise awareness about breast cancer this October, which is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Doing so saves lives. Here’s how you can help.
Participate in a Charity Event
There are local breast cancer fundraising events held all over the United States, both throughout the year and specifically during the month of October. Take part! Many are shorter-distance walks and fun runs, such as 5Ks or 7Ks. Other fundraising events include the Susan G. Komen 3-Day breast cancer walk, the Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride for cycling enthusiasts and even a Zumbathon. There is a fun event to suit a variety of lifestyles and interests. Find a local event in your area here: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/about-nbcf/nbcf-events.
Even NFL players don pink in October. Linebackers and quarterbacks alike can be seen wearing pink cleats, uniforms or sweatbands during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Take a cue from the NFL and wear something pink during October. It can be a pink t-shirt, dress or even a simple ribbon tied to your lapel. Donning pink is a great conversation starter.
You can also bake pink cupcakes or cookies and take them to work, school or even a dinner with your extended family. Just be sure to include a sign or message with your pink baked goods that demonstrate that you have made them in honor of breast cancer survivors and research, to help spread the word.
Donate (and Ask Others to Do the Same)
If you are strapped for time but would still like to help foster awareness about this type of cancer, simply donate. Giving $100 provides a mammogram for a woman who otherwise could not afford one. Even donating $5 helps further research and education about breast cancer. One place you can donate is at the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s website: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-donations.
Chat About It
Last but not least, it’s free and easy to talk about breast cancer with your family, co-workers and peers. If you can remind one woman to perform monthly self-breast examinations or convince another woman over the age of 40 to undergo a yearly mammogram, you have succeeded in fostering awareness about breast cancer.
In addition, if you have a friend, family member or loved one who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, gently remind that person that great strides have been made in breast reconstruction methods following lumpectomy or mastectomy for the treatment of breast cancer. For more information about breast reconstruction surgery, please contact the Milwaukee plastic surgery practice of Dr. Paul W. Loewenstein by calling (800) 614-5097.