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October: Taking Aim at Breast Cancer

While we await the day that we’ll no longer need a Breast Cancer Awareness month, for now, the month of October is our hope that through early detection, spreading the word and furthering developments in treatment, these efforts will reduce the number of fatalities from this deadly disease.

Celebrities like Serena Williams and Shannon Dougherty are new video “messengers” for the cause, and there are new campaigns from police departments “pinking” their cars to retailers creating limited edition items like bagels, ice cream, and even pajamas! As an employer, you can jump on the pink bandwagon to show support and create real momentum in the fight against Breast Cancer. Awareness is key in reducing the impact on your employees and their families, so I challenge you to turn Awareness into ACTION at your worksite this October! Read on to learn about the latest research and some creative solutions and initiatives you can share with your employees.

Take note of the following facts:

  • In the USA, Breast Cancer is the second most deadly cancer in women.
  • 1 woman out of 38 women will die from breast cancer. By the end of 2018, we expect 266,000 new cases, and sadly over 40,000 will die from the disease. And, yes, men do get breast cancer, although only about 1% of breast cancers occur in men.
  • Good news! There are over 3.1 MILLION Cancer survivors in the USA! Breast cancer death rates have been declining since the early 2000s, although staying steady for those under age 50. The decreases are believed due to better treatments, earlier screening, increased awareness and a drop in the use of menopausal hormone therapy.

What’s New in Research, Screening and Treatment:

  • Recent research from Wake Forest School of Medicine shows that a Mediterranean diet can create anti-cancer conditions by influencing microbe colonies in the body.
  • There appears to be a link between low Vitamin D levels after menopause and increased Breast Cancer risk, according to new research that corroborates previous study findings.
  • Possible environmental causes of breast cancer have also received more attention in recent years. While much of the science on this topic is still in its earliest stages, this is an area of active research.
  • Drug research often looks at new uses for existing drugs. Clinical trials are looking at non-hormonal drugs for breast cancer reduction. Drugs of interest include drugs for osteoporosis and bone metastases, COX-2 inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and statins (used to lower cholesterol).
  • Biosimilar medicines in the treatment pipeline offer promise but are still expensive. Testing for the BRCA1 and 2 genes are warranted for many women due to family history, but counseling as to interpretation is critical; studies show that awareness and updated education for both patient and provider are needed.

How Can We Take Action in October?

Promote the following “Risk Reducers” (ACS recommendations):

  • ages 40-49: talk to MD about mammogram frequency and family history
  • ages 50+ get a mammogram every two years
  • all ages: perform regular breast self-exams
  • promote the article: Five Ways to Reduce Your Cancer
  • Check out the links at the bottom for pamphlets, toolkits, templates for email and text blasts and promotional items for purchase

How Do You Promote?

The key to promotion is simply to do something that promotes taking action!

  • Hold a Pink Out- Pick 3 days consecutively for everyone in the company to wear pink and provide information/handouts/email blasts to remind women to take action, men to bring info home for spouses/daughters
  • Purchase promo items to draw awareness: wrist bands, headbands, ribbons, decals, magnets or other promoting Breast Cancer Awareness of screening, testing, prevention
  • Hold a “Tell-A-Friend” Tuesday campaign: Encourage women and men to ask their female friends if they’ve had a mammogram?
  • Sponsor a Pink Walk during October: employees wear pink and walk together on a given date, to promote awareness; employees can donate loose change until the date of the walk and then make a donation to support breast cancer research

Link to resources:

It’s true that “action speaks louder than words” and in the case of making continued progress towards a world without breast cancer, it’s time to Act! Contact your OneDigital representative for additional information.