If you’re living with breast cancer, you’re already aware of the impact the condition can have on your life — but chances are strong that other people in your orbit don’t know as much as they could about the disease. That’s why it’s important to raise awareness for the condition — particularly in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Raising awareness doesn’t just help other people understand your condition. MyBCTeam members have found that gaining more knowledge about breast cancer helps them make more informed decisions about treatments and strengthens their feelings of self-reliance.
If you’d like to get involved in increasing awareness about breast cancer, consider taking a few important steps.
Before you can create public awareness by sharing information with others, it’s a good idea to understand the specifics about breast cancer. Learn more about breast cancer’s causes, signs and symptoms, and treatments.
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast begin to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. It’s the most common form of cancer in the world, and the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women in the U.S.
There are many types of breast cancer, classified based on where the cancer begins in the breast, its genetic characteristics, and other factors. Some types of breast cancer tend to grow more quickly and spread more aggressively than other types. When cancer is diagnosed, the doctor evaluates the stage and grade of the cancer — terms that describe how fast it is likely to grow and how far it has spread. Determining the type, stage, and grade of breast cancer helps the oncologist predict the pattern of its growth and recommend the most effective treatments.
After you’re armed with information about breast cancer, you can share it with others. The fastest and least expensive way for this kind of advocacy is through social media. You can post information about breast cancer, share details about the condition, and join communities of other people who are also working to raise awareness about breast cancer.
To ensure your messages on social media reach as many people as possible, consider using an appropriate breast cancer-related hashtag, like #BreastCancer, #BreastCancerAwareness, #NBCF, or #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth. This way, your posts will be seen by more people who have the same interests, and they’re more likely to share and comment.
Social media helps raise awareness for the condition, and it also allows other people with breast cancer to realize they aren’t alone. Joining a social network for people with breast cancer, such as MyBCTeam, can also help you connect with others.
Another way to raise awareness about breast cancer is to participate in an activity dedicated to the cause. You can walk or run for breast cancer, play bingo, host a silent auction or fundraiser, or even create a unique event that works for your interests. You can help other people understand more about breast cancer while having fun and raising money for the cause.
You can also share these free educational guides from the National Breast Cancer Foundation with your network. If you have the time or funds, you can also fundraise for or donate to the organization to fund breast cancer research.
In addition, remember to engage in self-care. It is emotionally taxing to educate others about your lived experiences, so know your limits and accept when it’s time to put your mental well-being first.
On MyBCTeam, more than 53,000 people living with breast cancer come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with the condition.
Share your breast cancer journey in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.