One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an ideal time for employers to share resources and facts about this devastating cancer. As the second most common type of cancer for women, it’s imperative to share life-saving information this month to educate employees.
In 2019 alone, 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed.
Of those cases, it’s estimated over 40,000 women will die.
It’s not just female employees who need to know about breast cancer, either. Male employees may have a wife, sister, or female friends they could educate.
And while rare, men do get breast cancer, too.
Since early detection can greatly reduce the chance of death, it’s critical for women (and men) to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
Learn more below about important resources and breast cancer awareness facts you can share with your employees during Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2019.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer starts in the breast cells as a group of cancer cells that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to other parts of the body.
Causes of breast cancer include:
- Hormonal factors
- Lifestyle factors
- Environmental factors
These do not cause breast cancer:
- Contact with a cancer patient
- Cell phones
Researchers still aren’t clear why some people who have no risk factors still develop it, yet others with risk factors never do. Mayo Clinic reports breast cancer is likely “caused by a complex interaction of your genetic makeup and your environment.”
Breast Cancer Awareness Facts to Share
Cancer can be a tough topic to talk about, but it’s an important one to cover. Share these breast cancer awareness facts in a newsletter, on a bulletin board, or on your business social media page.
Breast cancer facts and statistics to share:
- The 5-year relative survival rate is 100% with early detection
- More than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors live in the U.S.
- Every 13 minutes, a woman dies from breast cancer
- Many breast cancer symptoms are invisible
- Breast pain is not a common symptom of cancer
- In 2019, 2,670 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer
- Breast cancer mortality has declined 39% between 1989-2015
Breast Cancer Screening Options
A breast cancer screening checks for signs of breast cancer before it happens. Screenings won’t prevent breast cancer, but it can help detect cancer cells early and allow treatment to start sooner.
There are two types of screening tests:
Mammograms are the typical breast cancer screening that most people know about. It’s an x-ray of the breast that offers the best chance of finding cancer early. Regular mammograms are recommended for women 50 to 74 years old.
Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
This MRI technology uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of breast tissue. The MRI option is used together with a mammogram when women are at higher risk for developing breast cancer.
Other screening options include: A self exam (which is recommended once a month for all women) or a clinical breast exam, which can be done by a nurse or doctor who feel for breast lumps with their hands.
Need to set up a mammogram? Find a mammography center near you.
Resources to Share With Your Employees
There are a ton of great resources online for breast cancer education that are backed by scientific research. Since there’s a lot of information to digest, we selected a few of the most comprehensive options to share with your employees.
Here are three resources to consider sharing:
American Cancer Society
While this site covers information on all cancers, it has a breast cancer specific section. Learn about the latest breast cancer news, breast cancer screening information, and how to understand a breast pathology report.
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister Susan she would find a cure for breast cancer. Since 1982, the Susan G. Komen® organization has become the world’s largest nonprofit source for funding breast cancer research. The website is filled with resources to learn about breast cancer, how to get involved in fundraising, and offers helplines for breast cancer patients to call.
This site is focused on providing help and inspiration to those impacted by breast cancer. Resources include a patient navigation portal to find a professional who can help women through the complex cancer healthcare system. The organization also offers free mammograms for women in need, along with other educational resources to better understand breast cancer.
Ways to Promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Work
Cancer can be an uncomfortable topic, but cancer conversations can also save a life.
Sharing these resources may be the key to saving an employee’s life who may not otherwise have thought about breast cancer risks or screenings. During October, you can get creative with ways to promote breast cancer awareness month, too.
A few options for raising awareness:
Collect Scarves and Hats
Consider doing a workplace drive collecting scarves and hats for cancer patients. Have your wellness committee take them to a local cancer treatment center. Add a note of encouragement with each donated item.
Host a 50/50 Raffle
This fundraiser is easy for offices of all sizes. Have employees vote for their favorite breast cancer charity ahead of the raffle. Split the proceeds 50/50 with the winner and the charity. Or, let the winner pick the charity of their choice.
Decorate a Bra Board
Add this show-stopping awareness campaign to a highly-trafficked area in your office. Decorate fancy bras with the message “Show Your Support!” on bulletin boards in your workplace. Include breast cancer awareness facts and statistics as well.
Educate All Month Long
No matter how your office plans to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, getting the facts out there is the whole goal. Whether you’re helping support breast cancer patients in your own office or sharing awareness literature, there are a ton of ways to get involved that can be educational and beneficial for all.
Want more ideas for ways to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Check out 14 Creative Ways to Promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Work!