October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Chances are, you know someone who has been touched by this deadly disease in some way. At Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians, we take breast cancer very seriously - it's hit very close to home with one of our own in Dr. Cynthia Bailey. The main goal of making October about breast cancer is to raise awareness of how tragically common this horrible disease is. While it's good to know what's going on, you might feel helpless to change anything - what can little 'ole you do to fight this big problem? It's tough to know what to do for awareness campaigns. Yes, breast cancer awareness is important, but what practical significance does this have to you personally? If you're in that conundrum, we have five recommendations that will help you to bring more meaning for yourself and those you love this Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 1) Start with you. Do you do self breast exams? Have you been avoiding getting that mammogram? Don't put it off! Early detection is the key to prevention and treating this deadly disease. Dr. Bailey found her breast cancer through her own self exam, and thank goodness she caught it early! Is there an adult woman in your life who is procrastinating on her mammogram or not doing regular self exams? Consider forwarding this post to her. 2) Get knowledgeable. Talk to your doctor. Find reputable breast cancer sites online such as the aforementioned American Cancer Society and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Follow them on Facebook to catch their news feeds. Staying educated by a reputable expert source on matters such as this only stand to benefit you. 3) Share what you've learned. Talk about the self-exam you did. Talk about the mammogram you finally scheduled. Post an informative breast cancer infographic to your Facebook page. Blog about all of the above. It's important to spread (correct) information because anything and everything you can do will inspire others. It may actually save at least one life - breast cancer is THAT common! Become an advocate for this worthy cause. 4) Raise money. Find an athletic event or other fund raiser where you can raise money for a good cause. There are plenty of organizations that are reputable. Not into walking or running and don't know of a good fund raising campaign right now but want to do something to knock this disease off its "high horse"? You can also raise money through your own choice of cancer advocacy organization. Dr. Bailey's favorite is FORCE, the advocacy group for the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community. Their work has been a godsend for Dr. Bailey in her cancer journey. She also says:
The hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) community, of which I am a member, is the "canary in the mine shaft" for today's breast cancer epidemic. We are also the ideal "laboratory rats" to study because we are identifiable, extremely prone to cancer and desperate for scientific advances that prevent cancer death. The information learned on us helps everyone with breast and ovarian cancer. The work that FORCE does in terms of telling the HBOC community about clinical trials and studies we can participate in benefits everyone. Supporting FORCE is a huge contribution to fighting breast cancer.There are other ideas to help raise cancer support money, too, whether it's selling chocolate or using GoFundMe. Whatever you do, have fun with it and know that your efforts matter! 5) Volunteer. There are some great ways you can do hands on volunteer work. Start with the American Cancer Society's volunteer page. There you'll be able to search for events near you and look into the different ways you can help out. Whether you have had cancer before, have had a loved one who had a cancer scare or have never been touched personally by breast cancer but have great compassion for those that have, there are many ways you can make a difference this Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Know for sure - you will help someone suffering from cancer and may even save someone's life!