Think Pink. Four Ways to Educate Patrons About Breast Cancer Awareness

Librarianship | October 05, 2017

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About 1 in 8 women today will get breast cancer. Find out how your library can be another resource for those affected and their families.

Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. According to the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, about 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. That’s a disturbing statistic. The good news is that when detected early, most women can survive breast cancer with treatment. And, as we know, the number one way you can lower the risk of breast cancer is by early detection screening, including getting regular mammograms.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here are four ways to promote breast cancer awareness within your library to help your patrons become more aware of breast cancer this month and throughout the year.

Create a Breast Cancer awareness program at your library.

Displays are an excellent resource to get people interested in a topic, and many libraries update their displays on a regular basis. You might want to consider showcasing books containing stories from survivors of breast cancer, books with advice from leading authorities and even cancer prevention cookbooks. Another idea is to connect with your local hospital and ask for pamphlets and other materials about breast health and self-exams. Stickers and commemorative cards also help to provide support and to celebrate survivors, honor those who have died, and lift up those who are still in treatment.

Find and promote local events.

The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks raise awareness and funds to save lives from breast cancer, and events are planned in many cities throughout the month of October. Make a difference by walking in an event, forming a team, or by promoting these events at your library and highlighting resources to educate patrons about breast cancer.

Hold Breast Cancer awareness sessions.

Real stories, real people. There’s nothing more impactful than having past survivors tell their amazing success stories or inviting medical professionals to speak at your library.

Share tips with your patrons.

Using your library newsletter and social media handles are great ways to share breast cancer awareness tips. Here are five tips to share with your patrons that provide vital information related to breast cancer that could save someone’s life in the future.

  • Men are at risk, too.
    It’s true. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, each year approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. That doesn’t seem like a big percentage when compared to women -- 252,710 will be diagnosed, and about 40,610 will die -- but men should also check themselves regularly with self-exams and keep their physicians informed of any lumps in or around their breasts.

According to the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, about 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point in their lives.

  • Does family history of breast cancer matter?
    It may. More than 70 percent of women diagnosed with the disease have not had any identifiable risk factors for it. However, if a direct family member such as a parent, sibling or child has had breast cancer, your risk of developing the disease almost doubles.

  • Not all lumps are cancerous.
    Let’s look on the bright side. Almost 80 percent of lumps that are found in women’s breasts are noncancerous: either cysts or other benign conditions that are not life threatening. Still, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor for any type of lump, as early detection is key.

  • The older you get, the higher risk you have of getting breast cancer.
    There is no fountain of youth, and the statistics are not favorable. Women in their 30s have a 1 in 233 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer, and that number jumps sharply to 1 in 8 by the time women turn 85.

  • What can you do to reduce the risk of breast cancer?
    You’ve heard this before. Exercise, weight loss and diet can help women who are overweight or obese lower their risk of breast cancer. Women who are able to lose at least 22 pounds after menopause can lower their breast cancer risk by 57 percent. In addition, eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day may lower your breast cancer risk.

Building awareness through any of these activities is a great way to get involved and educate the community about this important cause. And, don’t forget to wear your pink ribbon!

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