Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Honoring Those Who Fight
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we here at Eterneva want to show our support for people fighting the battle with breast cancer, their families and friends, and those working to raise awareness and find a cure.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, excluding skin cancers, and the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. However, statistics have been improving as testing and treatments evolve, and doctors find new ways to treat symptoms and force the cancer into remission. Today, the 5-year relative survival rate for women in the United States with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 91%. The 10-year relative survival rate for women with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 85%. But the work is far from over.
Researchers and advocates continue to work tirelessly to improve the lives of people suffering from breast cancer, and hopefully, one day, a 100% survival rate will be achieved. But until there is a cure, it’s important to highlight the importance of awareness, advocacy, and research so we can provide support and honor those who have fought and are fighting against breast cancer.
Being an Advocate for Someone with Breast Cancer
Being an advocate for someone with breast cancer means providing support, assistance, and a voice for the individual who is facing this condition. Advocacy can take many forms and involve different aspects of the person's journey through breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. There are a variety of ways to support and advocate for someone with breast cancer.
Emotional support. Providing comfort, empathy, and emotional support is the most important thing you can do as an advocate. Letting someone know that you are there to help them cope with the emotional challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis is the first thing you can do to be there for them.
Information and education. If someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you can help them by learning everything you can about the process. Understanding their diagnosis, treatment options, and potential side effects will help you provide the most effective support and advocacy.
Communication liaison. Depending on your relationship with the person, attending medical appointments to take notes, asking questions, and ensuring that they receive the necessary information from healthcare professionals can provide a crucial pillar of support. A cancer diagnosis can be daunting, and it can be difficult to sort out the logistics of care while under so much emotional stress. If it helps, you can act as a liaison between the person with breast cancer and their healthcare team, ensuring that their questions, concerns, and preferences are effectively conveyed and answered.
Assistance and resources. Offering assistance with daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, transportation to appointments, or childcare, can alleviate some of the burdens associated with treatment. You can also help the person find professional help in the form of support groups, organizations, and other resources that can provide additional information and assistance.
Respect privacy. Any help you can provide to advocate for someone with breast cancer can relieve some of the burden, but it’s also important to know when to give someone space and time for themselves. Always respect privacy and boundaries and only share information and provide help if you have communicated what you are doing and they agree to it.
Long-term Support. The path through treatment can be long and full of ups and downs, hope and despair. Continue to be there for the person throughout their entire journey, as the physical, mental, and emotional effects of breast cancer can extend beyond the initial diagnosis and treatment.
Being an advocate for someone with breast cancer requires sensitivity, patience, and a willingness to adapt to a person’s changing needs. But, if offered with sincerity, love, and compassion, your support can significantly impact their experience and overall well-being as they navigate their journey.
Raising Breast Cancer Awareness
Raising awareness for breast cancer is another way you can help all those who are affected by breast cancer. Promoting early detection, prevention, and support can help improve the chances of treatment and survival. And being vocal about the issue of breast cancer can help bring funding, focus, and critical research needed to defeat it. Here are some effective ways to raise awareness for breast cancer:
Breast Cancer Awareness Month. October is Breast Cancer Month, during which numerous events and activities are organized worldwide. Take advantage of this month to intensify awareness efforts.
Educational campaigns. Sharing or developing educational materials that provide information about breast cancer risk factors, early detection methods (such as mammograms and self-exams), and the importance of regular screenings can help raise breast cancer awareness and increase early diagnosis, which is critical to treating the disease effectively.
Social platforms. Using social platforms to share informative posts, facts, statistics, and personal stories related to breast cancer is a great way to bring the topic of breast cancer into the public consciousness.
Community events. You can participate in community events and fundraisers such as charity walks, runs, or bike rides dedicated to breast cancer awareness. These events not only raise funds but also create a sense of community, support, and understanding. For example, you could organize or support free or low-cost mammography screening events for underserved communities, making early detection accessible to more people. There are also numerous online seminars, workshops, and panel discussions that feature healthcare professionals, survivors, and advocates who provide education and answer questions about breast cancer.
The pink ribbon campaign. The pink ribbon campaign has been able to make the iconic pink ribbon, which you see a lot during breast cancer awareness month, the universal symbol of breast cancer awareness. Distributing pink ribbons, clothing, or merchandise with pink ribbon logos helps raise visibility and funds for breast cancer causes.
Working on the individual level. Not every awareness effort has to be on the macro level. Encourage people you know to prioritize their own health by performing regular breast self-exams and getting recommended screenings. If you know any breast cancer survivors or those affected by the disease, encourage them to share their personal stories. Real-life stories can be powerful tools to raise awareness and inspire others.
Raising awareness shouldn’t be confined to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. By combining various strategies and engaging with your community, you can contribute to increased awareness, early detection, and improved support for individuals affected by breast cancer throughout the year.
Honoring Loved Ones Who Have Passed On
While amazing strides have been made in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, there is still no cure, and many people who are diagnosed with the disease lose their battles and pass on. Honoring loved ones who have died of breast cancer can be a deeply personal experience but also a powerful way to remember and pay tribute to their remarkable lives. Here are some ways to honor those who have passed away from breast cancer:
Create a virtual memorial or tribute. Creating a memorial website, blog, or social media page dedicated to your loved one can provide a place where you can share their story, photos, and memories. This can serve as a lasting online tribute where friends and family can come together to remember and celebrate their loved one’s life.
Donate to breast cancer causes. Making donations to breast cancer research organizations, support groups, or charities in your loved one's name can be a symbolic and practical way to honor their legacy and help those who are still fighting.
Volunteer. Giving your time and energy to organizations that support breast cancer patients and their families can provide a practical way to work through the grief of losing a loved one to breast cancer.
Plant a memorial tree or garden. Create a garden or plant a tree in your loved one's memory. Each time you tend to the garden or see the tree, it can serve as a living tribute to their life.
Keep their story alive. Sharing your loved one's breast cancer journey, including their struggles and triumphs, can raise awareness and inspire others to take action. You can also continue the traditions and rituals that your loved one enjoyed. Whether it's a favorite recipe, place, or pastime, participating in the things they loved can help you feel connected to their memory and continue to learn lessons from them after they are gone.
Create a memorial diamond. Creating a beautiful memorial diamond from a loved one who has died of breast cancer offers a profoundly unique and personal way to honor their life. At Eterneva, we know that a diamond provides tangible and enduring tribute that not only symbolizes the strength and resilience your loved one exuded but also provides a portable connection to the departed, allowing you to carry them with you and transform grief into a constructive expression of love and remembrance.
A memorial diamond can offer comfort, empowerment, and joy. It can serve as a constant reminder of your connection, easing the burden of grief and helping you feel closer to your loved one who has passed. Eterneva even has pink diamonds available, so you can hold a symbol of your loved one’s fighting spirit and spark conversations with others about their struggle.
And for those with a terminal diagnosis who are making end of life preparations, having yourself made into a diamond when you pass can be a final gift to those who will carry your legacy forward and tell your story.
There's no one way to honor a loved one who has died of breast cancer. It’s essential to choose something that resonates most with you and your family. But because breast cancer victims and survivors share such a powerful connection through the immensity of their experiences, we encourage you to seek out and provide support for others who are going through the struggle. Until there’s a cure—be an advocate, raise awareness, and honor those who have fought the good fight.