October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity to spread awareness about the disease that touches so many. The facts are well known but worth repeating:
- One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
- Each year it is estimated that over 252,710 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,500 will die.
There are many ways to raise breast cancer awareness in the workplace and in your community. Here are some ideas:
- Wear a pink ribbon daily in October – At the start of the month, hand out pink ribbons to everyone on your staff. Encourage them to wear it daily as a reminder and to keep conversation opportunities open about breast health.
- Host a pink fashion show – Invite friends and family to a fashion show run by employees hitting the “runway” in all pink clothing. Add in crazy hats, feather boas, and big sunglasses. Throughout the evening, the emcee can share facts and resources about breast cancer.
- Hold a pink pumpkin contest – Combine Halloween activities into your awareness efforts by having employees create and showcase their best breast cancer awareness pumpkin. Display pumpkins in the lobby with collection jars next to each one. The pumpkin with the most jar donations wins and you can donate the funds to a cause like Susan G. Komen or a local cancer center for women.
- Breast cancer awareness bulletin board – Decorate a bulletin board in a highly-trafficked area. Encourage your staff to use their talents for raising awareness. Keep it simple with facts or create a themed board to draw more attention. For example:
- Honor/Support Board: Encourage employees to write a message of support for someone who is fighting breast cancer. You can also write notes to survivors or deceased loved ones.
- Bra Board: Tack up or draw fancy bras with the message “Show Your Support!”
- Grow a Pink Tree Board: Collect donations throughout the month. For staff who donate, have them trace their hand on pink construction paper and add it to the tree on your bulletin board. You can see the tree “grow” throughout the month.
- “Lunch and Learn” with a breast cancer survivor – Ask a breast cancer survivor to come and speak at a lunch and learn in your office. Employees will appreciate hearing a firsthand account of why prevention measures are so important.
- Donation dress-down – Give staff the opportunity to dress-down for the cause. Allow any employee who offers a donation for breast cancer research to dress casually for a day or even a week.
- Collect scarves and hats – Take up a collection of new scarves and hats to deliver to a local chemo center. Since many women lose their hair during treatment, a bright scarf or hat might make her day.
- Provide education – Share facts with your staff and hang in a common area. You can find facts from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. and the American Cancer Society, which also offer excellent resources to learn more about breast cancer.