This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re going pink for a purpose! That purpose is to support the research that’s working to prevent and cure breast cancer.

Throughout October, we’re collecting donations in our stores for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®(BCRF) with 100% of all donations going straight to the organization. In fact, our family of stores has raised over $800,000 for BCRF since 2004, which has funded over 16,000 hours of research.

But ending breast cancer starts with education. So this month we’re also sharing wisdom from the BCRF so you can take better charge of your health.

First, the facts

  • 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
  • Every 2 minutes, a woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • When breast cancer is caught early, there’s a 99% chance of 5-year survival.
  • There are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today, all of whom have benefited from the power of research.

Pink ahead with prevention

Let’s be honest. Every woman is at risk for breast cancer. Actually, men get it, too, although it’s very rare, with less than 1% of men diagnosed. Other factors, such as genetics, can increase your risk. But there are steps you can take to lower your risk of breast cancer. Here are some guidelines from Breastcancer.org.

  • Make healthy choices, like natural and non-GMO products. The food you eat, the beverages you drink and the products you use can expose you to carcinogens.
  • Take the lowest dose of hormones possible for birth control or hormone replacement, or opt for alternatives such as an IUD. Hormonal treatments have been linked to a greater risk of breast cancer.
  • Keep yourself physically active. Getting 3-4 hours of exercise a week can improve your health and help you maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce your risk of breast cancer.
  • Hold off on the liquor. The risk of breast cancer increases with consuming large amounts of alcohol. It’s best to stick to 5 or fewer drinks per week.
  • Stop smoking. It doesn’t just increase your chances of getting breast cancer, but it contributes to a multitude of other health issues.
  • Know your personal and family history. If you have a family history of breast cancer or other cancers, your risk is higher than others. You may also want to consider genetic testing, genetic counseling, risk-reducing medications or other preemptive options.
  • Perform a breast self-exam at the same time every month so you can identify any changes in your breasts. Tell your doctor right away if you find anything.
  • Get your mammogram! According to the American Cancer Society®, women age 40-44 should consider getting a baseline reading. Women 45-54 should get a mammogram every year. Women 55+ can switch to getting a mammogram every two years, or as directed by their doctor.

Breast cancer awareness is not just about finding a cure. It’s also about being aware of your own breast health. Use this October as a starting point for breast cancer prevention. And help find better ways to prevent, treat and cure breast cancer by donating to BCRF in our stores throughout the month. Go pink for a purpose!