October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and for good reason. About 1 in 8 American women—that’s 12.4 percent—will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. There will be an estimated 255,180 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in 2017 alone, and about 40,610 women will die this year from breast cancer. There’s a lot to celebrate even so; more women survive every year, in large part due to increased awareness and earlier detection through screening.
We wanted to think about ways all different kinds of people could get involved during October no matter what they’re interested in or how their lives have been impacted by cancer. So, what are some inspirational ways to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Engage in radical self-care
Many forms of radical self-care are active steps in breast cancer prevention. Early detection is critical to beating many diseases, especially breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to schedule a mammogram for yourself, or remind a friend or loved one about theirs. Some cities even host free mammography screenings. This is also a great time to start performing monthly self-exams, which are responsible for detecting about 20 percent of breast cancers. Or check out a Bright Pink educational event, or sign up for their breast health reminder texts. There are lots of ways to up your self-care ante.
Race toward a cure
For many people, getting active is a great way to get involved, and this is one reason why walks and runs for breast cancer have become so popular. While there is some debate about how accountable the various charities that run these events are in terms of how much money actually gets to women in need and/or researchers, this is a fine place to start. Check on the American Cancer Society’s website to find an event near you. Susan G. Koman Foundation is highly regarded for their efforts in fundraising for breast cancer awareness.
Join with a cause
Looking to get more involved for the long haul? You’ll always have the most success if you choose a cause that is right up your alley. If you’re a gym rat and you love CrossFit or weightlifting, check out Barbells for Boobs, which helps promote early detection and raise money so everyone can access screening services. If you’re in Texas (or can get there) and you love biking, the Texas Mama Jama Ride could be your scene. 2017’s just passed, but it’s the right time to start training for 2018!
Cook up a healthful storm
There are lots of great ways you can help people living with breast cancer and donate in ways you can feel great about. Have a vacation property or some tickets to something really cool you can give up? Donate a week there to the Karen Wellington Foundation which is dedicated to sending women living with breast cancer on special vacations and other fun-only activities like concerts and spa days. If you’re more interested in supporting research, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a great choice, having raised over half a billion research dollars since its inception in 1993.
Support someone in need
With the numbers that exist, we all know someone who is touched by cancer, breast or some other variety. Reach out to that person in your life this month. Tell them you’re thinking of them. It may seem silly, but it really is the little things like messages out of the blue that mean so much to anyone who is fighting cancer. If you’re close to someone who’s struggling in treatment, offer help. Chances are excellent that they could use help with meals, housecleaning, getting to and from appointments, laundry, and yardwork. Even seeing fresh flowers or fruit could be a real pick me up to someone coming home after chemotherapy or breast reconstruction surgery.
Share your story
There are lots of other ways to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Maybe one of the best is just sharing your story; talking to others about how cancer has touched your life. Hearing your story may be the inspiration for someone else—the spark that moves them to action, or keeps them going during a tough time.