National Breast Cancer Awareness Month represents an opportunity for all Americans to devote some time to offering their support to the millions of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. It's also a good time to find out what you can do to help. Whether it's participating in rallies or organizing fund-raisers or donating to charity, October is a time when all of us can come together with those goals in mind.

First, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers three ideas for how to spread the word about steps women can take to detect breast cancer early:

  • Ask doctors and nurses to speak to women about the importance of getting screened for breast cancer.
  • Encourage women ages 40 to 49 to talk with their doctors about when to start getting mammograms.
  • Organize an event to talk with women ages 50 to 74 in your community about getting mammograms every two years.

Below, we've put together links to six breast cancer awareness charities that are most deserving of your support, but before that, let's go over a few key pieces of information. Breast cancer is the second-most-common cancer in American women (following skin cancer). There are about 3 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., and about one out of every eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. It is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women (following lung cancer).

The American Cancer Society has issued the following estimates for 2022:

  • About 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
  • About 51,400 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
  • About 43,250 women will die from breast cancer.

The good news is, you can help (even if you don’t look great in pink). If you want to step up and support the cause right now, we found seven ways you can click through and donate without leaving your chair. (You can find an exhaustive list of respected charities here.) When you find a cause you want to get behind, check them out at Charity Navigator to see how your money will be spent and how your charity ranks among others with similar missions.

  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation: The mission of this foundation is “to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and translational research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health.” Founded by Evelyn Lauder (of Estée Lauder fame), they assure donors that 91 cents of every dollar spent by BCRF is directed toward breast cancer research and awareness programs. (3-star ranking on Charity Navigator)
  • National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc.: Their mission is to save lives through early detection and to provide mammograms for those in need. They increase awareness through education, by providing diagnostic breast-care services for those in need and by providing nurturing support services. Your $100 donation can provide a mammogram for a woman in need. (4-star ranking on Charity Navigator)
  • Living Beyond Breast Cancer: This organization was founded in 1991 by oncologist Marisa C. Weiss, M.D., and aims to empower all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life. (4-star ranking on Charity Navigator)
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure: The vision of this well-known organization is a world without breast cancer. The foundation began as a promise by Nancy Brinker to her sister Susan Komen that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. It has since become the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. And October is a big month for races, so you may still be able to get involved with your feet as well as your wallet. You can donate here(3-star ranking on Charity Navigator)
  • This group is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete and up-to-date information about breast cancer. Their mission is to help women and their loved ones make sense of the complex medical and personal information about breast cancer so they can make the best decisions for their lives and families. You can donate here(4-star rating on Charity Navigator)
  • Breast Cancer Education Association: The philosophy of this group, which is largely run by volunteers, most of whom are breast cancer survivors, is to serve women and men in the community by providing easy access to support and information about breast cancer and to enhance the quality of life for survivors, family and friends. (not rated on Charity Navigator)

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