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How you can support breast cancer awareness all year long

How you can support breast cancer awareness all year long

While all of the attention towards Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October is great, it may leave you wondering how you can support breast cancer patients and survivors all year round and how you can aid in their fight. 

One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her life. The odds are high that someone close to you will have to face this disease and fight for her life. There are several ways to help, many of them far more substantial than pinning a pink ribbon onto your shirt.

During October, it’s far easier. You can participate in any of the breast cancer walks or runs. Pink is everywhere, and you have more opportunities to donate that are readily available. Keep up the momentum and support a friend, family member, or other loved one through the rest of fall, and winter, spring, and summer as well!

Volunteer

The opportunities to volunteer are wide and varied. It can be something as obvious as volunteering as part of the crew for a breast cancer walk, which rely heavily on volunteers in order to run smoothly, though we’re going to focus on more year-round opportunities.

The American Cancer Society has two great volunteer programs, one specifically for survivors, and another that anyone can participate in.

Reach to Recovery - Breast cancer survivors help those currently fighting to cope with information, the disease, and any fears or concerns that come with it.

Road to Recovery - Volunteer drivers provide patients with rides to treatment appointments.

Both of these give you the chance to help cancer patients year round. Don’t underestimate the value of the support of someone who has walked the path that you’re on or reliable transportation to treatment!

Many breast cancer organizations depend on volunteers to handle the day-to-day work. Your office know-how could be a big help! Bookkeeping, marketing, and event planning are all skills that could make a big difference to an organization or support group.

Stay informed

This starts with being informed about breast cancer itself. Learn about the disease, the different stages, treatments, and research. Then, you can speak knowledgeably about breast cancer and current affairs surrounding it, and conversations can be key to spreading awareness.

Check out the American Cancer Society or the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network for more info.

Being informed also includes getting an idea of what a cancer patient is going through. Though you can’t know exactly what it’s like, reading a blog written by someone who is fighting breast cancer can help you understand more of what it’s like to live with it every day.

Knowledge is definitely power, and you can become a more empathetic, understanding, and caring person just by learning.

Donate

We all know what a hectic schedule can feel like, and if you can’t find the time to volunteer, you can always donate to breast cancer research organizations and groups.

If you’ve decided to do this, don’t just give your money to the first thing that pops up. Read about the organization (remember that “being informed” bit above?) and learn about where your money will go and how it will be used.

Not all organizations are created equal, so be sure that you’re donating to one that you feel good about. Are you more interested in research? Support? Education? There are different kinds of organizations that focus on different aspects of the fight against breast cancer.

Find the one that speaks to you!

Get your screenings done

Take the risk of breast cancer seriously. Don’t put off your check-ups, exams, and screenings.

Early detection can make a huge difference. If you’re over 40, getting a yearly mammogram should be on your health to-do list, and if you’re younger, regular self-exams and exams done by your doctor are super important.

Final thoughts

Breast cancer patients live with their struggle every day of the year, not just the 31 during October. It only makes sense, then, to show your support the other 334 days of the year, too.

Let’s show them that they do not stand alone in their fight, that we stand alongside them and will not let them face this on their own. Whether you’re donating your time, experience, skills, or money, or you’re sharing your knowledge about the disease and helping others become informed as well, your efforts do not go unnoticed.

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