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How to Support Someone with Breast Cancer

October 12, 2021

Breast cancer has become the most common cancer globally, accounting for 12% of all new annual cancer cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re taking a moment to recognize the survivors and those in treatment and to remember the ones we’ve lost.

Breast cancer stats in the U.S.

About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Roughly 2,650 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men this year, approximately 1 in 833 men. Other stats (all from and the American Cancer Society):

  • In 2021, an estimated 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 49,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
  • There are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, including women in treatment and those who have completed treatment.
  • The overall death rate from breast cancer decreased by 1% per year from 2013 to 2018. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances and earlier detection through screening.
  • For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

How to support someone with breast cancer

It can be tough to know how to help someone going through treatments and even recent survivors. One way to let them know you care is to send a thoughtful, homemade care package that speaks directly to what they’re experiencing.

Items to include:  

  • Glass or metal water bottle
  • A cozy blanket, soft scarves and hats
  • Low-maintenance plants like orchids or money trees
  • Cozy pajamas
  • Luxurious lotions and bath salts
  • Healthy snacks

You could also volunteer to drive your loved one to appointments or treatments. Offer to clean their home, do a load of laundry, drop their kids off at school, or cook meals.

If you’re looking to give back to the cause, make a donation to one of these places or a local support organization near you:

Breast cancer early detection

There is no way to prevent breast cancer, but detecting it early is one of the best ways to help ensure good results. Adult women are encouraged to perform a self-exam every month to become familiar with how their breasts look and feel. Mammograms will find lumps, but your self-knowledge will also alert you to any abnormalities.

To perform a self-exam, use the pads of your 3 middle fingers and check the entire breast and armpit area pressing down with light, medium and firm pressure. Feel for any lumps, thickening, hardened knots, or any other breast changes. This can be performed in the shower, in front of a mirror or lying down.

If you feel anything you hadn’t noticed before, be sure to reach out to your doctor.

Give back to the cause

For the month of October, 10% of every online purchase will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Shop our Breast Cancer Awareness Collection to find a plant to send to a loved one who has survived breast cancer or someone undergoing treatments.

breast cancer awareness collection