Every October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, where people all over the world get together to show support for those affected by breast cancer.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic put many areas of breast cancer on pause. According to a report by Breast Cancer Now, almost one million women in the UK have missed vital breast screening due to COVID-19. It is estimated that in the UK there are nearly 11,000 people living with undiagnosed breast cancer due to disruptions caused by Covid-19. So, now more than ever, we need to support this cause.
Breast Cancer statistics
Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. According to Breast Cancer UK, 1 in 8 women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Although less common, around 350 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year too. There is a good chance of recovery if breast cancer is detected at an early stage. Around 95.8% of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive one year after diagnosis, and 85% survive beyond five years.
For this reason, it is vital that women check their breasts regularly for any changes. And if they notice any, they should have this examined by a GP as soon as possible.
Breast cancer symptoms
According to the NHS, there are several symptoms associated with breast cancer. The most noticeable is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue. Most lumps in your breast are not cancerous, but you should always have them checked by a doctor to be sure.
Other symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A change in size or shape of one or both of your breasts
- A lump or swelling in your armpit
- Discharge from either of your nipples, which could be streaked with blood
- Dimpling of the skin on your breasts
- A rash on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple, such as it becoming sunken or changing position
If you notice any symptoms or changes to your breasts, you should visit a GP as soon as possible. For more information about breast cancer symptoms, visit the Cancer Research website.
Causes of breast cancer
We do not fully know the exact causes of breast cancer. However, there are some factors that can increase your risk of developing it. These include:
- Your age – breast cancer is more common in women over 50
- Your family history – if you have a family history of breast cancer
- A previous diagnosis of breast cancer
- A previous non-cancerous breast lump
- Being tall, overweight or obese
- Lifestyle factors – drinking alcohol, not exercising regularly
For a more comprehensive list of risk factors, and why these can increase your chances of developing breast cancer, visit Breast Cancer Risk Factors page on Cancer Research UK.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and need support to help you cope, Cancer Research UK has put together a comprehensive list of support organisations, resources about breast cancer, and suppliers who can help if you have had breast surgery, with their information and contact details.
How you can support Breast Cancer Awareness Month
There are many ways you can support breast cancer awareness month. From something as simple as buying a pack of sweets where a percentage is donated to a breast cancer charity, to arranging a big fundraising event at work or in the community, everyone can help raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research.
Below, we have put together some of our favourite ways to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October.
Wear it pink
On Friday 22 October 2021, Breast Cancer Now run a Wear it Pink day. This is one of the biggest fundraising events in the UK. On this day, thousands of people all over the UK wear pink in their communities, at work, at school or just out and about to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer. 2021 is the 20th year of this event, with over £36 million raised since it started in 2002.
It’s so easy to get involved, just sign up on their site and start planning what you’ll do on the day to raise money! They’ll even send you a fundraising pack in the post. Why not run a bake sale in your workplace – raising money for a great cause and the opportunity to eat cake, what’s not to love? Or maybe you’re the sporty kind and fancy taking part in a physical challenge like a run, hike or bike ride? Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you wear pink whilst you do it. And raise as much money as you can for this brilliant cause!
Take part in 25 saves lives
25 Saves Lives is a campaign ran by charity Breast Cancer UK. It aims to raise money to keep their animal-free research and breast cancer prevention work thriving. It’s called 25 Saves Lives because over 25% of breast cancer cases are preventable. And keeping fit can significantly reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
To take part in the 25 challenge, simply choose a physical activity based on the number 25 to complete. For example, you could run 25 miles a week during October. Swim for 250m a day for 25 days. Or learn 25 different dances during October. Once you’ve decided on your activity, set up a fundraising page and share it with your friends and family, encouraging people to donate. At the end of the month, you can donate the money to Breast Cancer UK via their website.
Do some shopping
Breast Cancer Now has partnered with a range of companies to design unique, limited edition Breast Cancer Awareness Month products. A percentage of the profits for these products is donated to Breast Cancer Now to raise money for their life-changing support and research. So, if you love to shop and want to support a great cause in the process, head to Asda, Dorothy Perkins, ghd, Elemis, Cath Kidston, Ann Summers or Trinny London to buy some of these limited-edition pink products.
No matter your budget, there is a product you can buy to support this cause. And get yourself a little treat in the process! For just £1 you can get some limited-edition Cadburys Giant Milk Buttons or Strawberry and Cream flavour Squashies (yum!). We love these Tickled Pink Boob Moods Pyjamas from George for just £12.50. We’re obsessed with the super cute Heart Spot Stanley Mug from Cath Kidston (coming soon) for just £8. And it would match perfectly if you have a pink Swan Retro Kettle!
If you really want to treat yourself why not get these gorgeous ghd gold pink hair straighteners for £149, or the matching pink ghd hairdryer for £159. And if you’re in the market for a new bike, the Liv Breast Cancer Now Alight bike is a brilliant option. All £499 of the profits from each bike sale is donated to Breast Cancer Now.
Keep an eye out during October for these limited-edition breast cancer awareness month products. To see the full list of products, visit Breast Cancer Now’s online shop.
If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, why not take part in Big Pink Jump October? On the 16th Of October 2021, Skyline Events are partnering with Breast Cancer Now to raise money for breast cancer research by offering people the opportunity to take part in a charity skydive. You can register to take part for just £35, and pledge to raise £430. Available in 21 locations across the UK, check out their website to find an airfield near you.
A skydive is truly one of the most unforgettable ways to raise money for charity. Fly through the clouds from over 10,000ft high and reach speeds of up to 120 mph. Talk about feeling that adrenaline rush! If you’ve always wanted to do a skydive, this is a great way to tick it off your bucket list whilst doing something for a great cause too.
Hold a bucket collection
Grab a group of friends and sign up to hold a bucket collection. It’s really easy to arrange and is a fun way for you and your friends, family or colleagues to raise money and get the community around you involved. Head down to a local shopping centre, pub, sports centre, university campus, workplace or town centre and encourage people to donate to this worthy cause. Remember – every penny counts!
Take part in the virtual Breast Walk Ever
Instead of the usual Breast Walk Ever event, the breast cancer charity Against Breast Cancer has arranged for a virtual walk. This event aims to raise money for research into secondary breast cancer, the main cause of all breast cancer-related death. The Virtual Breast Walk Ever is a brilliant way to raise money whilst helping you to get those steps in and improve your health and fitness throughout October.
Anyone can take part in this event, no matter where you live. You can hold yours wherever you’d like – in your garden, at the local park, along the beach, or down the street – the choice is yours! And it’s completely free to sign up with no minimum sponsorship.
To take part, set up a fundraising page and tell your friends, family and colleagues about your challenge. For every donation, you receive, pledge to walk a mile for Against Breast Cancer. Then walk the distance you pledged during Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Hold a charity bake sale
This is one idea we love the sound of. With The Great British Bake Off back on our screens, why not take some inspiration and run your own charity bake sale at work, school, university, or community centre. You could even hold a competition for the best bake and award them ‘Star Baker’ of the event!
Get your family, friends or colleagues involved and each bake something to sell at the bake sale, with all the money raised going to a breast cancer charity of your choice. It’s the perfect excuse to sit down, enjoy a brew and a slice of cake with friends and have a good old catch up.
If you do take part in a bake sale, why not submit your breast cancer bakes recipes to us, where they’ll be featured on our website? Submit your recipes to the Community section of the Swan Big Family site!
Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October
Hopefully, we’ve given you some great ideas for how you can support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you do take part in any fundraising events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’d love to hear about it! Share your pictures with us on social media tagging @SwanBrandUK!