October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
And it pays to be aware and increase awareness, since breast cancer occurs with staggering frequency, leaving almost no one in the country without some connection it.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes:
Not counting some kinds of skin cancer, breast cancer in the United States is—
- The most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity.
- The most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women.
- The second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
Particularly Classy Infographic
The infographic below is not just elegantly done, but is a font of information, doing the work of paragraphs of verbiage. It pays to peruse it carefully:
Source: Mount Sinai Medical Center
Breast Cancer in the Blogosphere
In terms of awareness in the blogosphere, there are a multiplicity of breast cancer blogs, which can search them through Google. I want to point out just a few of the ones that have touched and moved me.
- Marie Ennis O’Connor’s Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, an award-winning blog which covers a wide-range of cancer topics, and draws together a cohesive network of cancer survivors. Comments abound, and conversation is lovely in response to each of Marie’s thought-inspiring posts;
- The Perks of Having Cancer where Florence, self-titled breast cancer warrior, focuses on the GOOD things about cancer–and challenges herself to come up with 100. Her sense of humor is infectious, particularly as her perks number into the 80s;
- Nancy’s Point, with the dual focus: losing a mom to breast cancer, and Nancy’s own diagnosis and cancer journey; and
- Yvonne, in her blog time to consider the lilies, writes her musings on cancer, but says she writes, too, as “. . .a rebel yell for change in the national conversations about breast cancer.”
- Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad is a poet and writer, and thus reading her blog is like dipping into a bath of fine writing. Author of Fine Black Lines, The Last Violet, and This Path We Share, she writes on a variety of subjects relating to loss, and waxes eloquent on the experience of breast cancer on her self-named blog, Lois Hjelmstad.com; and
- Mourning Has Broken by Jan Hasak incorporates her work as a motivational speaker, patient-advocate, and author. Her writing is such a cut above that she actually won an award from her workplace, a biotechnology firm, in fact, for “her account of being treated with its breast-cancer drug, Herceptin®.” Like Hjelmstad, she’s the author of other books, as well.
Awareness Through Twitter
Each of the bloggers above also maintain twitter sites focused on breast cancer. How could I leave off Twitter?
Twitter is known for its Twibes, or groups of Twitter users with a common focus. Breast cancer awareness is kept alive through the Twibes dedicated to just that purpose, such as the BREASTCANCER Twibe, Breastcancer Twitter List, or Making-strides-against-breast-cancer Twitter List.
Perhaps your contribution to awareness this year is simply reading the dialogue–or even joining the conversation.
Specific Ideas for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
At a loss for what to do to help increase awareness? Sky’s the limit–but here are just a few suggestions
- Stop by Breast Cancer Awareness Event Planning Idea Guide. They have a variety of suggestions, ranging from. . .
- Hats off to survivors: Pull together your community by getting them to “put a cap on breast cancer.” After creating flyers and posters announcing the Awareness Month, feature photographs of breast cancer survivors wearing “Hope, Love, Cure” Caps. Hold sales of the caps to raise money for a breast cancer related group or program.
- Work with your company to provide comfort to patients undergoing breast cancer surgery. Order “Making A Difference One Woman At A Time” Reversible Tote Bags and Comb & Mirror Compacts. Perhaps consult with a breast cancer support group to see to see what else to include in the bag with the compacts, then ask your staff to donate those items. Supply a hospital or surgery center with your finished care packages.
- AmsterdmanPrinting’s Blog has these rather simpler–but still effective–ideas”
- Have a ‘pink day’ – a day at work/school where everyone is encouraged to wear pink
- Get involved in local fundraisers or create your own (have a bake sale, flower sale or car wash)
- Tell the stories of survivors with books, pamphlets, t-shirts & more
- Participate in a walk or run (many walks are stroller-friendly)
- Or perhaps do something as simple yet important as donating to the The National Breast Cancer Foundation (mission: “is to save lives through early detection and to provide mammograms for those in need”). They have a few suggestions, too, for practical changes you can make as part of your vow to keep breast cancer awareness alive.
- You can Create an Early Detection Plan and invite others to do the same.
- Host a Fundraiser to help provide mammograms for women in need.
- View for yourself and then share with others the NBCF’s video series Beyond the Shock, where you can learn about breast cancer, ask questions and get answers, and view real people and hear about their experiences with the illness.
Think you and your friends have your own creative idea about how best to bring awareness? Well, let your competitive edge come to the fore for the 2012 Breast Cancer Awareness Contest, which will be implemented in 2013. Entry forms are at the link, and start date for contest entries is November 1st, with all entries due in by December 16, 2012. Winners will be announced on http://www.positivepromotions.com/contestwinners, on or about March 12, 2013. [And there’s the money-motivator factor, too. Grand Prize is $300, Second Prize $200, and Third Prize still a respectable $100.
And finally, just remember:
The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart. ~Nikolai Lenin
As long as we do something for breast cancer awareness, as long as we hear and validate the voices of the survivors, as long as we take to heart the best prevention advice there is, then we have done something great. The final great thing we must do, is, indeed, never lose heart.