October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and there’s much more to conquering this disease than wearing pink. This a good time to think about your basic health, and what we can do to support others.
While we know more about breast cancer with each passing year, an estimated 1 in 8 women who live to age 95 will be diagnosed with the disease. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, with over 230,000 new diagnoses in the U.S. each year. An estimated 40,000 American women will die from breast cancer this year.
So how do you help???
In August, people dumped buckets of ice water over their heads to raise money to fight ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Now it’s October, time for pink-ribbon products and events to raise money to fight breast cancer. In November, social media feeds will fill up with pictures of guys growing mustaches for the Movember men’s health campaign.
All these efforts have something in common: They depend on people to make spur-of-the-moment decisions to donate money to certain health charities. And whether the appeal comes from a friend, challenge of a co-worker or from a retailer, it can feel really good to chip in and join a good cause.
But some people say that what feels good does not necessarily do the most good. Giving to whomever grabs your attention online, on the phone or in a store, “is not a practicality way to give. At Giving Through Jewelry, we recommend that donors find out exactly what charities do with donations and whether that matches what donors want.
Research a breast cancer foundation or charity before giving money, and make sure their mission is in line with your goals. Is your aim to further research for a cure, or to support women and families dealing with the disease? How much money donated to a certain charity will actually go towards those goals? Check on sites like Charity Watch, Guidestar and Charity Navigator to inform you before giving.
While it’s tempting to support companies’ breast cancer campaigns by purchasing branded merchandise, be aware that some of them are walking the walk, but not talking the talk. A recent report found that the NFL’s “Pink October” does not actually raise money for breast cancer research. On the other hand, corporations such as Land’s End and Ann Taylor (which has raised almost $18 million in donations to BCRF since 2005) are explicit about what proceeds go towards the foundation of their choice.
So the moral of the story is make a difference and do your part! Schedule an appointment for a mammogram screening and encourage others to do the same. And don’t forget to give.