Cancer. It is a 6 letter word that should be a bad word. Truly, I can not think of another word that generates as much emotion as the word cancer does. Breast cancer, in particular, generates a lot of feelings for me. I have been personally affected by breast cancer. My paternal grandmother and aunt were both survivors. A close friend of mine, on the other hand, was not so lucky. It is a terrifying illness for all involved, especially those who are diagnosed. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women, with skin cancer being the first. About 1 in 8 women born today in the U.S. will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. These statistics are scary, and there is a good chance that we have known or will know a friend or family member who is diagnosed.
6 Ways to Help a Friend with Breast Cancer
- Listen: Do not try to emphasize with the situation, unless you have been there yourself. Be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.
- Connections: Almost all of us know someone who has had a personal battle with this terrible disease. It can be incredibly helpful for someone who is currently battling the disease to communicate with someone who has been there, done that.
- Keep a Sense of Humor: Don’t walk on eggshells. Treat your friend as you normally would. Keep it light and bring a sense of humor to the table with you.
- Make Baked Goods: Who doesn’t love baked goods?
- Buy Groceries: The grocery store is the last place someone who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments might want to be. Food, smells and fluorescent lighting. Don’t offer, just do it.
- Help the Children: Kids are the often silent victims of cancer. They may not fully understand what their parent is facing, and may even feel neglected. Help your friend by showing their children some extra love. Take them to the park or to the movies and spend some quality time with them.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease, offer information and support to those affected by breast cancer and raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. Early detection is key. Even as the second most common cancer among women in the United States, millions of women are surviving breast cancer thanks in part to early detection and improvements in treatment. Breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older should have a mammogram each year, and should continue doing so for as long as they are in good health. Women in their 20s and 30s should have clinical breast exams as part of a regular health exam every 3 years, at a minimum.
When caught early, the survival rate for breast cancer is as high as 99%. Those are incredible odds, but a diagnosis is often accompanied by an expensive treatment plan. Aflac’s cash benefits can help pay the out-of-pocket costs associated with cancer treatments. A cancer insurance policy can be used not only for treatment expenses not covered by medical insurance, but also to help with everyday living expenses, transportation and even child care costs and groceries. If you or a family member does end up being diagnosed with breast cancer, or any cancer, you want to be able to focus on recovery not finances, and a cancer insurance policy can help you do just that.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Aflac will be partnering with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) again for its second annual “This Duck Wears Pink” campaign. Aflac is selling a variety of campaign-related merchandise including the plush duck, hats and a breast cancer ribbon pin, with all the net proceeds going to the AACR for the specific purpose of funding research aimed at finding a cure for breast cancer. Aflac supports the groundbreaking work of the AACR – the first and largest cancer research organization in the world with a membership of more than 35,000 professionals residing in 101 countries working on the front lines of the effort to eradicate cancer. The AACR backs every aspect of high quality, innovative cancer research. You can donate and shop for merchandise here.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.