Illustration by Elizabeth Manning

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and during this time there’s a plethora of campaigns, ads and pink to go around. And while this campaign spreads over our news feeds, shelves and screens, it’s easy to lose track of the original message while swept up in rosy shades of pink. In honor of the commencement of our annual crusade against breast cancer, here’s your guide to making a real impact this October.

Share the knowledge

Breast cancer affects the lives of people across the world, consuming time, money, energy and grief from each person and family it affects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is among the most common cancer in women in the United States. Annually, about 220,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,000 in men. Of these cases, about 40,000 women and 400 men die of the disease. Prevention and early detection are key in fighting the disease.

It is recommended that women begin getting mammograms at age 40. However, if you know you have a family history of the disease, you should speak to your health care provider about when it’s best for you to begin screening. Forty percent of all breast cancer cases are discovered through self-breast checks. These tests can be performed by women of all ages, and should be done once a month.


There are countless funds that aid families with the financial struggle breast cancer bears. Here are a few foundations that support the women it affects as well as breast cancer research:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure — Susan G. Komen’s mission statement is “to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering others, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find cures.” Since 1982, this foundation has funded research, medical care, community and provider education and psychosocial support for millions of people in 60 countries worldwide.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation — Founded in 1993, the BCRF works to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer by providing research funding at various medical centers across the world. They also work to increase public awareness about good breast health.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer — Established in 1991 by a radiation oncologist, the organization aims to connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support. Known for their high-quality programs and services, they offer free programs to educate and support men and women affected by the disease. They offer additional, specialized programs sensitive to the issues facing young women, men, African Americans and members of the LGBTQ community.

Think when buying pink

Buying commemorative pink items and clothing to back this cause will be by far the most common way to support it. But when doing so, remember question just how much of your purchase is going to the cause, and who it is going to. Here are some easy and reputable ways to help support breast cancer this month: — It’s the same old Amazon, but simply adding “smile” allows you to choose your favorite organization for Amazon to donate 0.5% of the purchase price from eligible items in your cart every time you shop, at no extra cost to you. With almost a million charities to choose from, it’s a simple but effective way to donate all year round.

Panera Bread — Introduced in 2001, Panera annually promotes their pink ribbon bagel to honor breast cancer awareness month. So, next time you stop by for some macaroni and cheese, pick up a bagel and do your part. Select locations offer 100 percent donation day, where the entirety of that day’s sales in pink-ribbon bagels is donated.

The NFL — Since 2009, the NFL has driven their campaign “A Crucial Catch,” in partnership with the American Cancer Society. They promote the importance of regular breast cancer screenings. To support this mission, the NFL has a line of breast cancer awareness gear, so you can support your favorite team as well. Throughout October, NFL games will feature players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel.