Despite advances in the related medicine over the last two decades one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point. In 2019 268,000 cases will be diagnosed, and of those it is estimated over 40,000 women will not beat the disease.That means that the annual October Breast Cancer Awareness Month is still very much needed.
As breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer for women, it’s imperative to share life-saving information this month to educate employees. And it's not just women who will benefit from this education. Although it's rare, men can be diagnosed with breast cancer as well and male employees have partners, relatives and friends they could educate.
Breast Cancer Basics
The earlier the disease is detected, the better a woman's chances are of beating breast cancer are. This means it's important that women are aware of the symptoms of breast cancer and are educated about the disease in general.
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.
Known causes of breast cancer include:
- Hormonal factors
- Lifestyle factors
- Environmental factors
These do not cause breast cancer, whatever some of the false and misleading results found in Dr Google's search results might tell you:
- 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 is not an easy subject to discuss, 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 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.
Resources to Share With Your Employees
People relying on often false information from dubious sources found online is one of the most frustrating things that those medical professionals and researchers deal with. There are a ton of great resources online for breast cancer education that are backed by scientific research that offer real facts and advice.
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.
Susan G. Komen
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.
National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
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.
Get Everyone Involved
You will find that events are scheduled across the state that are being staged to draw attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can find a list of some of them here. However, you can set up events within your own office too. Sponsored walks/runs are very popular – and great for employee wellness too – but for even more ideas check this site, as it's one of the biggest lists of Breast Cancer Awareness Month office event ideas we've ever seen.