Cancer is a group of diseases that cause cells in thebody to change and spread out of control. Most types of cancer cells eventuallyform a lump or mass called a tumor, and are named after the part of the bodywhere the tumor originates. Most breast cancers begin either in the breasttissue made up of glands for milk production, called lobules, or in the ducts thatconnect the lobules to the nipple.
The remainder of the breast is made up offatty, connective, and lymphatic tissues.Breast cancer typically produces no symptoms when thetumor is small and most easily treated, which is why screening is important forearly detection. The most common physical sign is a painless lump. Sometimesbreast cancer spreads to underarm lymph nodes and causes a lump or swelling,even before the original breast tumor is large enough to be felt. Less commonsigns and symptoms include breast pain or heaviness, persistent changes, suchas swelling, thickening, or redness of the skin, and nipple abnormalities suchas spontaneous discharge (especially if bloody), erosion, or retraction. Anypersistent change in the breast should be evaluated by a physician as soon aspossible.
Breast cancer is typically detected either during ascreening examination, before symptoms have developed, or after a woman noticesa lump. Most masses seen on a mammogram and most breast lumps turn out to bebenign (not cancerous), do not grow uncontrollably or spread, and are notlife-threatening. When cancer is suspected, microscopic analysis of breasttissue is necessary for a diagnosis and to determine the extent of spread(stage) and characterize the type of the disease. The tissue for microscopicanalysis can be obtained from a needle biopsy (fine-needle or wider coreneedle) or surgical incision. Selection of the type of biopsy is based onmultiple factors, including the size and location of the mass, as well aspatient factors and preferences and resources (1).
For people diagnosedwith cancer and their loved ones, there is increasing evidence thatsupport groups can be beneficial in improving not only the day-to-day qualityof life but also on your chances of survival. For some it is relatively easy tofind a local group, and there are also telephone and online support groupsavailable.Explainto the patient that the Cancer Support Community Helpline (888 793-9355) can help locate an existing support group in the community (2). The following organizations offer a variety of programs, which have highlighted special initiatives that help them stand out (4): 3 1. Barbells for Boobs Barbells for Boobs are a nonprofit organizationdedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on womenunder the age of 40 and men. Inspired by athletes everywhere, local communitiescome together, fundraise, and help the organization detect potentially lifethreatening breast cancer occurrences.Barbells for Boobs was created to provide criticalfunding to breast centers nationally as a resource for thousands of men andwomen who do not qualify for government funding or charitable resources in thedetection of breast cancer.2.
Bright Pink Bright Pink is the only national nonprofitorganization focused on prevention and early detection of breast cancer andovarian cancers in young women. They aim to reach the 52 million young women inthe United States between the ages of 18 and 45 with their innovative,life-saving breast and ovarian health programs, with the hopes of empoweringthis and future generations of women to live healthier, happier, and longerlives.Bright Pink offers Brighten Up ® EducationalWorkshops to educate and inspire young women to be proactive advocates fortheir health. Facilitated by a certified Bright Pink education ambassador,these 20-minute presentations, delivered at workplaces, faith-based institutions,community centers and other gathering places, ground participants in the basicsof breast and ovarian health, introduce them to the idea of different lifetimerisk levels, provide early detection and prevention strategies, and equip themwith life-saving knowledge that will inspire them to take action.
3. BreastCancer Research Foundation The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is anonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breastcancer. They provide critical funding for worldwide cancer research to fueladvances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis andsurvivorship. Since their founding in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder, BCRF has raisedover half a billion dollars in lifesaving research. In 2014-2015, BCRF willaward $47 million in annual grants to more than 235 scientists from topuniversities and medical institutions around the globe. 4Because breast cancer is a complex disease with nosimple solution, BCRF is dedicated to having their researchers tackle it fromevery angle. Areas of focus include:Tumor biologyHeredity and ethnicityLifestyle and preventionTreatmentSurvivorshipMetastasisThe Breast Cancer Research Foundation fundraises in avariety of ways.
Individual donors can give online through one-time or monthlypayments. There is also the opportunity to create your own fundraiser, attend asignature event or purchase a product from one of BCRF’s partners.4.
National Breast Cancer Foundation The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) isdedicated to helping women now by providing help and inspiring hope to thoseaffected by breast cancer. Their focus is on early detection, education andsupport services. With increased healthcare costs and a rapidly increasingpercentage of uninsured women, many unfortunately cannot afford the cost ofscreening tests. That’s why NBCF provides free mammograms to women in all 50states through their network of hospitals.NBCF is a stabilizing force in the lives of hundredsof thousands of women who have reached a crossroad in their lives and need helpcrossing the bridge. NBCF offers free, innovative programs that differentiatethem from other nonprofit organizations combating breast cancer. These programsinclude:National Mammography Program – Free mammograms anddiagnostic breast care servicesBeyond The Shock – Comprehensive video series aboutbreast cancerEarly Detection Plan – Tool to receive reminders to dobreast self-exams and schedule your clinical breast exams and mammogramsBreast Health Awareness – In-person training sessions,materials provided at events, online training modules 5 Patient Navigator Program – Locate medical facilitiesin NBCF’s network5.
Lynne Cohen Foundation The Lynne Cohen Foundation serveswomen facing increased risk for ovarian and breast cancers. With educationprograms and comprehensive care clinics, they arm these women and theirfamilies with the knowledge, tools, and clinical support needed to take actionearly, survive, and thrive. There are three main areas of focus includingprevention, education and connection. 6. Keep A Breast Foundation The Keep A Breast Foundation™ Foundation is theleading youth-focused, global, nonprofit breast cancer organization. Theirmission is to eradicate breast cancer for future generations by providingsupport programs for young people impacted by cancer and educating people aboutprevention, early detection, and cancer-causing toxins in the everydayenvironment.
“Since our inception 15 years ago, Keep A Breast hasmade connections with younger generations about breast health through music,art, skate and surf culture. We meet young people where they are, tried to takethe stigma out of the language and empower them with the education to make thebest personal choices. As we look back on the progress that we’ve made sinceour early years, we want to take the time to celebrate the conversations thatyoung people have sparked in their communities about the importance of beingyour own health advocate. Keep a Breast attracts millennial donors by offeringa variety of options including:Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Creating a custom onlinefundraiser page for Keep A Breast.DIY Action Fundraisers: Ways for supporters to throwgrassroots fundraisers, from small concerts, to car washes, to monthly nightsout that raise funds for Keep A Breast’s education and prevention outreachprograms.
Volunteer Programs: A frequently updated volunteerpage with upcoming opportunities. They also have call outs for event volunteerson Facebook and Twitter.Donation Page: Donate directly to the Keep A BreastFoundation on their donation page.Official Keep Breast Cause Merchandise: The majorityof support comes from their cause merchandise that includes bracelets, shirts,and other gear designed specifically to engage young people. 67. Facing ourRisk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) Facing our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) is workingto improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breastand ovarian cancer. FORCE also advocates for families when it comes to accessto care, research funding, insurance, and privacy.
FORCE has eight main mission objectives:- Provide women with resources to determine whetherthey are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer due to geneticpredisposition, family history, or other factors.-Provide information about options for managing andliving with these risk factors.-Provide support for women as they pursue theseoptions.-Provide support for families facing these risks.-Raise awareness of hereditary breast and ovariancancer.
-Represent the concerns and interests of high-riskconstituency to the cancer advocacy community, the scientific and medicalcommunity, the legislative community and the general public.-Promote research specific to hereditary cancer.-Reduce disparities among underserved populations bypromoting access to information, resources, and clinical trials specific tohereditary breast and ovarian cancer8. Texas MamaJama Ride The Texas Mama Jama Ride is dedicatedto raising funds to help families in their local community facing breastcancer. Their supportive community of cyclists, volunteers, sponsors, andbeneficiary organizations come together each year to participate in one of thebest supported and fun bike rides in Texas. Since its inception, Texas MamaJama Ride has raised more than 2.3 million dollars to help save and improve thelives of that facing breast cancer.9.
The Pink Agenda The Pink Agenda is committed toraising money for breast cancer research and care, as well as awareness of thedisease among young professionals. Their belief is that engaging today’sgeneration can go a long way toward finding tomorrow’s cure. The Pink Agendafinds, funds, and partners with people and programs that are improving thelives of those suffering from breast cancer and conducting groundbreakingresearch necessary to improve their odds. To do so, the 7Pink Agenda supports the work of theBreast Cancer Research Foundation and FAB-U-WISH, an initiative established bybreast cancer survivor, E! News anchor and television personality GiulianaRancic to help women undergoing treatment for breast cancer feel fabulous.
10. The KarenWellington Foundation Friends and family established the Karen WellingtonFoundation for LIVING with breast cancer in 2007 in memory of Karen, a youngmom diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30 who passed away at age 40. Karen’sfoundation has a fun-only mission (#FunNow). They send women and their familieson special vacations, spa days, dinners out, concerts and other fun-onlyactivities. They ask vacation home owners to donate a week a year of theirvacation homes and they match them with worthy recipients and put the funtogether.Nomination forms for a fun vacation are online and arereviewed by staff at The Karen Wellington Foundation. Vacation homes aredonated for use throughout the year at various destinations for specific weeks.
All homes are well-appointed and each vacation is filled with fun and qualitytime. The foundation strives to match getaways with what is available at thetime the applicant is able to travel.Other factors include:-Where the applicant is traveling from-Particular vacation preferred – beach, mountains,etc.-Number of immediate family members travelling withthe applicantAside from donating fun-filled vacations for familiesin need, The Karen Wellington Foundation also collects donations through onlinefundraising and year-round events.11. The Breast Cancer Charities of America The Breast Cancer Charities ofAmerica (BCCA) exists to eliminate breast cancer as a life-threatening illness.They bring together organizations representing all health and social servicedisciplines in the commitment to establish new and unprecedented levels ofeffectiveness in research, education, advocacy, and support. BCCA is the onlynonprofit bringing the ‘integrated cancer care’ message to women acrossAmerica.
8Funds received by the BCCA are used to conduct researchon the link between breast cancer and nutrition. Funding is also used toeducate the public and health care professionals on integrated cancer care.Other portions of gifts are dedicated to:Help Now Fund — Provides emergency financialassistance to help people in active treatment with their rent and utilities.University Educational Program – Promotes theprevention message to college campuses and young women as they make healthylife choicesFeeling Beautiful Again – Program service designed bya breast cancer survivor to provide a gift bag filled with educational andbeauty items that address the psychological side of cancerSurvivor Kits – Go into more than 450 hospitalsnationwide with step-by-step directions on the breast cancer journeyEducational Empowerment Programs – Teaching womenacross the U.S. the steps to prevention and survivorship of breast cancerMedical Missions – Providing clean medical supplies toimpoverished nations 12.
BreastCancer Emergency Fund Since 2001, Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (BCEF) hasbeen the only Bay Area organization dedicated to providing emergency financialassistance to low-income women and men battling breast cancer. BCEF hasdelivered over $2,500,000 in quick, compassionate care to help reduce financialhardship, improve quality of life and enable people to focus on their healthand families. BCEF works closely with each client, and more than 40 communitypartners, to immediately meet the most critical needs. BCEF also hosts a variety of annual signature eventsincluding This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse and Beats for Boobs®. Aside fromlarger signature events, BCEF also hosts a number of community events includinglong distance walks, art walks, raffles, music events, silent auctions, andmore.
Supporters can also give through online donations, event sponsorship;employee giving campaigns, matching gifts, and corporate foundation grants. 9Although breast cancer receives themost attention during Breast Cancer Awareness month each October, charitieswork all year long to raise funds for the prevention, treatment, and cure ofthis devastating disease. All throughout the year people have the opportunityto participate in various walks, runs, and other special events raising moneyto fight breast cancer. The pink ribbon has become the symbol for awareness ofthe disease and can be found adorning everythingfrom soda cans to sneakers. But howmany of us stop to examine those pink ribbon charities soliciting our support?(3)The answer to this question helps usreflect on how much we are willing to help raise breast cancer awareness.