We’ve made serious leaps and strides in the fight against breast cancer. Over the past two decades, awareness has skyrocketed – as evidenced by October’s designation as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, people sporting pink ribbons and numerous fundraising events, like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. And it’s not for nothing: thanks to early detection and improved treatment, death rates have been declining since 1990 – as has the incidence of breast cancer in women age 50 and older.
At the same time, we’re not totally out of the woods. There’s still these scary stats:
- 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime
- It’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women
- It’s the second leading cause of death in women
- Although rare in men, approximately 2,150 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year
Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
So – welcome to October, when it’s time to THINK PINK. Here are five fun, effective ways to engage employees in breast cancer awareness and prevention:
1. Love Your Ladies Challenge.
A mammogram only takes 20 minutes and is more awkward than painful, yet many women are still afraid to get one. However, it’s the best form of early detection and literally saves lives. Educate the women in your workforce about the benefits of a mammogram and reward those age 40+ who get one.
2. Breast by Breast Fest (aka BXBF).
Seriously, why not make it sound like a summer festival to pique interest and attendance? Provide free on-site mammograms, breast self-exam instructions, information on risks and prevention, even testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes (or at least details on where to get tested). Provide healthy snacks, hand out breast squeeze balls (they exist) and reward those who participate – the more you do at BXBF, the more points you earn.
3. Men Have Mammaries Too Challenge.
Guys don’t need annual mammograms, but they shouldn’t miss out on October challenges! For them, maintaining an ideal body weight and reducing alcohol consumption are the best prevention. Challenge them to do both in October, offering rewards for weight loss and fewer drinks come Halloween.
4. Live for Your Breasts Lunch + Learn.
So eating red meat apparently increases your breast cancer risk by 13%, while walking lowers it by 42%. Meanwhile, just three sugar-sweetened beverages a week (!) can increase breast cancer risk, while carotenoid-rich veggies lower it. Help employees make sense of it all by inviting a local doctor to give the lowdown on lifestyle guidelines over a healthy lunch.
5. Walk, Bike or Run for That Cure.
There are so many great breast cancer fundraising events – especially in October! Find out what’s happening in your area and put together a team of colleagues for a day of fun for this important cause.