This October, healthcare practitioners across the U.S. are honoring women everywhere by recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Often signified by a pink ribbon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women regardless of race or ethnicity, with 242,000 new cases reported annually.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) adds that, while there are 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., this form of cancer is still the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, with 1 in 38 women losing their lives to this particular type of cancer.
But men can get breast cancer too with the ACS further indicating that, by the end of 2018, approximately 2,550 cases of male breast cancer will have been diagnosed. Roughly 480 will succumb to this disease.
As a DC, there are many things you can do to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month for women and men alike, hopefully reducing these numbers simply by getting the community to think more about breast cancer and how to prevent and treat it. Here are a few to consider.
1. Decorate pink for October
Because pink is the color most often associated with breast cancer awareness, October is the perfect time to add pink to your chiropractic office. For instance, pink carnations could be placed around the office, maybe even giving one to each female patient as a reminder.
Even something as simple as wearing pink shirts every day, pinning a pink ribbon on your chest, or purchasing pink rubber bracelets can all bring more awareness to breast cancer awareness and prevention. Encourage patients to do the same by giving them ribbons or bracelets to wear too.
2. Provide breast cancer prevention tips
Though many people are aware that breast cancer exists, not everyone understands what they can do to lower their risk of getting it. So, providing this type of information can help patients take actions that can potentially help prevent a breast cancer diagnosis.
According to the National Cancer Institute, this involves encouraging them to:
- Maintain a heathy weight
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Get regular physical exercise
The Mayo Clinic adds that other breast cancer preventatives include breast feeding, limiting hormone therapy dose and duration, and avoiding environmental pollutants and exposure to radiation.
3. Share inspirational patient stories
If you have a patient who is a breast cancer survivor or one who is currently facing breast cancer yet still has a positive attitude, ask if she or he would be willing to share their story with the intent of inspiring or encouraging others. Put a write-up on the billboard in your office, send it out in an email, or otherwise feature it in your patient communications for the month of October.
If you have more than one patient willing to be highlighted, you could share a new story every week. Not only does this bring more awareness to breast cancer in general and the real impact it has on people’s lives, but it may also give someone struggling with this disease the inspiration to continue to fight.
4. Host a breast cancer fundraiser
Another way to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to host a fundraiser. This could be by holding a special event such as a breast cancer walk, or your office could collect donations for the month of October and, at the end, forward them to a breast cancer organization of your choice.
For instance, Susan G. Komen shares that $0.80 of every dollar goes toward research, health programs, and breast cancer education and advocacy. And when you donate on the Komen website, you can even direct where the money is applied, whether on research for a specific type of breast cancer or in the general donation fund.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation is another organization which focuses on educating women about breast health and breast cancer prevention, offering support to those who have been diagnosed with this condition. They’ll even help your chiropractic business with fundraising efforts. All you have to do is fill out their online form and they’ll get in touch.
5. Help patients create a breast cancer memorial
Even if breast cancer has not touched someone physically, most people know someone who has been diagnosed this disease and/or lost her life to it. Why not honor these loved ones by helping patients create a breast cancer memorial?
One way to do this is to have them write the person’s name on a small pink ribbon, including a message if they’d like, and hang them around your office for the entire month of October. You could also put one huge pink ribbon on your billboard and let patients add names and messages to it as they wish.
Creating a memorial like this helps the community remember just how many lives breast cancer touches. It also gives your patients an opportunity to take a moment and honor those who’ve battled this dreaded disease, letting them know that they are loved and not alone.