Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month


October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Since the program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined.

This is exciting progress, but there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals.

· Women age 65 and older are less likely to get mammograms than younger women, even though breast cancer risk increases with age.

· Hispanic women have fewer mammograms than Caucasian women and African American women.

· Women below poverty level are less likely than women at higher incomes to have had a mammogram within the past two years.

· Mammography use has increased for all groups except American Indians and Alaska Natives.

“The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely – once is not enough.”

For more information about NBCAM, please visit For additional information, please call one of the following toll-free numbers: American Cancer Society, (800) 227-2345, National Cancer Institute (NCI), (800) 4-CANCER, Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, (800) 221-2141.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month program is dedicated to increasing public knowledge about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Fifteen national public service organizations, professional associations, and government agencies comprise the Board of Sponsors, who work together to ensure that the NBCAM message is heard by thousands of women and their families.

Bright ideas for the clinic, the workplace, and the community

Throughout National Breast Cancer Awareness Month's (NBCAM's) history, Program Leaders have developed many creative ways to reach women. This section provides BRIGHT IDEAS to reach women in the clinic, at the workplace, and in the community. Some of these ideas may work for you or inspire new thoughts. NBCAM's educational campaign, "Pass the Word," consists of communication initiatives to facilitate a woman's decision to engage in early detection of breast cancer. As program leaders, you can help women and the community understand the importance of a triad of behaviors that includes mammography screening, clinical breast exams performed by health care providers, and breast self-examination.

At the Workplace
Women make up more than 50 percent of the American workforce. Approximately 44 percent of those diagnosed with cancer will be employed at the time of their diagnosis. Chances are some of those women are employees at your workplace.

The NBCAM Board of Sponsors urges all employers to examine the health care benefits they provide their employees and to take the steps needed to provide significant benefits for mammography screening.

Workplace Successes
  • All District of Columbia government employees received a breast cancer message on their pay stubs.
  • In Mississippi, McDonald's restaurants printed tray liners with a mammography message and a toll-free information line.
  • Information flyers were mailed out in Avon catalogs and to food stamp recipients in Montana. In Albuquerque, NM, the local ValPak coupon package was mailed to every house within a designated ZIP code, carrying an insert on breast cancer early detection, along with valuable coupons from local vendors.
  • A Wal-Mart pharmacy in North Olmsted, OH, put information in each prescription bag during October. They also ran announcements on their PA system and made sure employees were informed, as well.
  • Lands' End, located in southwest Wisconsin, employs 5,000-8,000 individuals, depending on the season. After realizing there were no adequate support groups in the southwest region of Wisconsin, one employee and breast cancer survivor started an entirely voluntary support group with 30 members called the Lands' End "Breast Friends."As soon as an employee is diagnosed with breast cancer,"Breast Friends" sends a mail or phone message encouraging them to participate. There are between 15-20 women each month who meet. The group also sponsors and particapates in breast cancer awareness activities annually.
  • AstraZeneca began an in-house breast cancer screening program, beginning in 1989. Employee participation in the program, which also includes educational activities and clinical breast examinations, is more than 90 percent, exceeding national averages of about 30 percent. Some of the major "selling points" among employees are familiarity with medical staff, the ease of getting an appointment during the work day, and the feeling of being cared for by a staff committed to breast health.

Ellen for the Cure

Ellen for the CureThe Ellen DeGeneres Show is celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by announcing the return of the Ellen for the Cure campaign!

Throughout October, Ellen is asking her audience members and viewers to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer. 100 percent of all donations will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

To participate, click here.

Throughout the month of October, For the Love of Beauty will highlight numerous programs to support raising awareness and will host giveaways galore from sponsors eager to get their message out about this important issue. Stay tuned all month and be on the lookout for a fab giveaway coming up before the end of the day! xo

For more information on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month online, visit NBCAM and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

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