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How to be breast cancer aware

October is a commemorative month for many causes: Bullying prevention, domestic violence awareness, Hispanic heritage, LGBT history, and more.

The most well known cause happening in the month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness typically through the Susan G Komen Foundation.

Now, many stores and corporations will sport pink outfits or sell pink products to support the cause, but there’s much more to do than this.

What are some steps you can take as a woman to learn more about breast cancer. And for everyone, how can you support those with breast cancer besides just buying “pink” products.

Learn about breast health

The National Breast Cancer Foundation offers a free breast health guide to get you started. This includes tips on how to be aware of the health of your breasts and questions to ask your doctor.

The site also has an explainer video letting you know what exactly breast cancer is. There is also information on male breast cancer, although it is rare it is still possible for men to develop it.

breast-cancer

This article and video go through some of the myths and truths of what causes breast cancer. Items like microwaves and cell phones don’t cause breast cancer, while known risk factors like drinking alcohol or a family history of breast cancer can be a factor.

There are also genetics involved in breast cancer, and you can get a genetic test for certain breast cancer gene mutations. The site helps you understand the results if you do decide to take a genetic test, because a positive result often is not a guarantee you will get the disease.

How to raise awareness

Besides donations or purchasing items, there are many other ways to get involved in the fight against breast cancer, not just in October but year round.

Some easy ways to raise awareness are sharing messages from the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s social media as well as the Susan G Komen Foundation, and other breast cancer organizations. But raising awareness should not stop here.

You can also host or plan a fundraising event. The NBCF helps you create a fundraising webpage where you can help raise money for the cause.

This article from the New York Times in 2013 describes the ease with which many of us feel that we are helping the fight against breast cancer by purchasing pink ribbons or sporting pink outfits or even buying a pink oven. It requires much more than that.

You can donate your hair to those who go through chemotherapy. Organizations like Locks of Love will accept certain lengths of donated hair to create into wigs.

Volunteer your time to drive patients to their treatments. The American Cancer Society’s Road To Recovery program provides transport to those who cannot drive or do not have reliable transportation to their treatments.

Be a cosmetology volunteer for the Look Good Feel Better program. The workshops provide skin care and make up demonstrations, instructions on hair loss, nail care, wigs, and clothing styles to help make patients feel great while still undergoing treatment.