Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the Workplace

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and you may begin to notice pink adorning vehicles, parks and businesses. Thousands of Americans participate in some sort of breast cancer awareness campaign during the month of October, whether it’s a walk sponsored by the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure or other non-profit organization, displaying pink ribbons on everything from clothing to store windows to credit cards and retail proceeds to support favored organizations.

Businesses and their employees have a number of opportunities to raise awareness for this disease, which is the most common form of cancer among women, no matter the race or ethnicity1. Breast cancer causes more fatalities than any other cancer in women, with the exception of lung cancer2, and it is important that everyone is aware of the significance of early detection.

Getting started
Like all company- or office-wide initiatives or employee programs, it is essential that all levels within the organization are involved in the planning process. At the beginning of the month take the time to sit down with members of the staff to gauge interest in participating in awareness events, activities or campaigns in the business. As you engage with all levels – executive, management and other employees – enthusiasm will grow and become natural as you move forward with any awareness endeavors.

Educate your employees
No matter what your business decides to do to promote breast cancer awareness during the month of October, it is important to educate your employees about the disease and make everyone aware of how breast cancer could affect their lives or the lives of those they love.

While survival can be as high as between 88 and 93 percent when breast cancer is detected early and patients remain vigilant of early warning signs, breast cancer accounts for roughly a quarter of all cancer occurrences in women in the United States3. The Hoag Breast Care Center has answers to all your questions about breast cancer and breaks down exactly what the disease is, diagnostic tools and various treatment options available.

On the biological level, cancerous cells are formed when cells, which normally grow and divide in an orderly fashion, begin to grow out of control. These cells may form a tumor and tumors may be benign (and do not spread to other cells or tissues) or malignant (cells that spread to other tissues). When a malignant tumor forms in the breast tissue, it is considered breast cancer4.

Treatment options range from surgery to remove the affected tissue, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and other therapies, depending on the type of breast cancer and how much it has spread5.

Male breast cancer, though extremely rare, can develop and is often ignored in early stages. It is important for men, especially older than 60, to be aware of any changes in their chest area.

Awareness options
There are many opportunities for your business to raise awareness both among employees and customers. Here is a partial list:

  • Connect with a local non-profit or medical center to raise funds for research, treatment and awareness
  • Participate in a local walk with a team fielded by your business
  • Match donations by staff dollar for dollar or another percentage
  • Donate for every deal closed or customer served
  • Communicate initiatives with the public, media and customers; this is positive public relations for your business
  • Depending on your industry, provide a discount or donation for any customer that wears pink throughout the month of October
  • Promote awareness with pink products and donate a portion of the proceeds to a worthy cause
  • Distribute promotional giveaways to employees to drive awareness
  • Temporarily changing your logo to include the color pink or the pink awareness ribbon
  • Share your commitment to increasing awareness in your employee and/or customer newsletter

How does your business participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Let us know by posting a comment.

Written by Leeann Garms
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