Five things you can do for breast cancer awareness month that can really make a difference
Breast cancer is a life-altering and life-threatening disease that gravely affects those who are diagnosed as well as their loved ones. Over the years, much has been done to raise awareness, and millions of people across the world have come together to raise funds, provide support, and educate communities as to the importance of getting checked and early detection. Every October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, people around the world look for ways to help in order to raise awareness. This includes buying pink clothing with breast-cancer-related slogans, wearing pink ribbon pins, participating in marathons, and more. However, as important as awareness is (there is no doubt that early detection saves lives), there is so much more that can be done to truly help patients with this terrible disease.
EZbra was created by a breast cancer survivor on a mission to help others in the breast cancer community. This October, we wanted to reach out to the millions around the world who want to help, and give you ideas on how you can do just that.
Get to Know the Numbers
Globally, in 2018, over 2 million new cases of breast cancer were reported, making it 11.6% of all cancer types and, with a global death rate of 6.6%, classifying it as one of the five most serious cancers in terms of mortality.
In the US, breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women and is 100 times more likely to be found in women than in men, though it also affects about one in one thousand men. Recently, Beyoncé’s father Mathew Knowles shared his diagnosis with the world at 67. Eight out of every ten women diagnosed in the US do not have a history of breast cancer in their family, although women with relatives who have been diagnosed have a higher chance of developing the cancer.
While in the past it was believed that only women after 50 are at high risk, we see an increasing number of young women diagnosed in recent years. The Young Survival Coalition is a great resource to help you learn about their experiences. Early detection along with new treatments constantly being developed have significantly raised the five-year survival expectancy however, there is more that can be done to further the efforts to prevent, detect, and treat patients and to help make their experiences less painful and less traumatizing.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast cancer awareness month is recognized worldwide and spans throughout the entire month of October with the goal of raising awareness and funds for detection, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and a cure. It first began in the United States in 1985 and has since spread throughout the world with the goal of raising funds and educating people.
Since the 1990s, the color pink became directly associated with the cause, worn and sported everywhere. In 1993, Evelyn Lauder, Senior VP of Estee Lauder, established the official emblem of the cause, the pink ribbon. In that same year, President Clinton declared the third Friday in October “National Mammography Day” and encouraged clinics and companies to offer free screenings to women.
Following the establishment of the pink ribbon, many companies began commercializing the product, making it difficult for consumers to really know whether their purchase actually donates to the cause or just adds another sale to the company.
Though there are many events and campaigns established for the month of October to push and increase awareness and funds for Breast Cancer, more can be done that can even greater affect and impact the cause.
1. Learn About Breast Cancer
The first thing you can do is educate yourself so that you are well equipped to educate others. Learn the statistics about diagnosis, survival, and symptoms so you are able to keep a close eye and identify signs early on for you and your loved ones.
Learn how to conduct a proper breast exam at home, frequently, in order to monitor and track any lumps or early signs of breast cancer. It is recommended to conduct a breast exam at the same time each month, preferably 3-5 days after your menstrual cycle.
How to conduct a self-breast exam and encourage your daughters, nieces, sisters and so on, over the age of 20 to do the same. Encourage women in your family or community over the age of 40 to get properly screened for breast cancer. Early detection saves lives – remember that!
2. Donate to Organizations and Women Affected by Breast Cancer
There are many ways you can donate that can help further research, treatments, and the development of cures for breast cancer. You can also donate directly to someone undergoing treatment to make the costly burden a bit lighter. At EZbra, we’ve partnered with breast cancer organizations across the US to truly make a difference in patients’ lives. Join us this Breast Cancer Awareness Month by gifting EZbras to women who need it, and we’ll donate 10% of the proceeds to your organization of choice.
How it works:
- Visit https://ezbra.net/gift-ezbra/
- Choose an organization you support
- Purchase as many EZbras as you like
We will send that organization the EZbras along with 10% of the proceeds from your purchase. We understand that the recovery period after surgery involves immense pain, discomfort, and emotional stress. Our goal is to change the standard of care so that women will be offered EZbras at every hospital instead of the current solutions being used which are not made for their post-op needs and experiences. Until then, we are calling out to you, the people who want to help breast cancer patients this October, to join us and make a real difference in patients’ lives.
3. Support Someone you Know
If you don’t personally know someone who has been diagnosed, there are many places you can volunteer and lend a hand.
- Listen to them, allow them to express their fears and thoughts, and lend a shoulder for them to lean on.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure you are taking care of your own mental health as this could affect you too!
- Drive them to chemo and sit with them. Leave flyers around chemo centers with your information offering rides. Talk and laugh and help make the time pass faster and more pleasantly.
- Help around the house with daily chores. Most breast cancer patients want to live their normal daily lives however, medication and pain due to treatments and surgery sometimes inhibit their mobility and energy.
Keep in mind that some people may be reluctant to accepting help and, although that might be hurtful, it comes more from a place of wanting to complete these daily tasks on their own in order to maintain a feeling of normalcy throughout their treatment period. Always remember that this is for them, not you, and be sensitive to their feelings and experiences.
4. Host a Fundraiser
In today’s digital world, it is much simpler to raise funds for research, treatment, or to help survivors throughout their recovery. From crowdfunding to designing and launching a fundraiser page, you can reach people around the world in minutes with just a few clicks. Starting an online fundraising page is mainly free and, when paired with the right publicity strategy, can prove itself a successful method of raising funds.
You can also opt to host a fundraiser at your home or at a location of your choice. There are many ideas for events you can find online. Here are some highly effective fundraising event ideas:
- Host a party: Ask for donations, collect an entrance fee, or do both and make sure your guests know where their donations will be headed and what cause they’ll be helping to promote.
- Haircut events: Organize an event where women can come and get their hair cut to either show support or prepare for or deal with the hair loss that may come with treatment. Ask some local hair stylists to donate their time for the cause and maybe even find makeup artists as an added bonus.
- Silent auctions: Get local shops to donate raffle items or gift baskets for a silent auction. Guests arrive for an evening of music, crafts, food, etc. and purchase raffle tickets for the various items. Proceeds can be donated to specific organizations or to help specific patients.
5. Listen to Women’s Stories
A large part of educating yourself should be to listen to stories of survivors and patients. When listening to women affected by breast cancer, be attentive to how they describe themselves, their experiences, and their feelings. Breast cancer isn’t pretty, it isn’t pink, and not everyone who gets diagnosed is a survivor or feels like a “warrior”. Listening to stories will expand your knowledge and add more context to the often-dry facts provided on brochures and websites. Moreover, meeting more patients and survivors could help you meet someone who could greatly benefit from your contribution.
You can read and hear some stories on the following sites: