While the idea behind breast cancer awareness month (October 2018) is to support and remember those who have battled, or been affected by the devastating disease, the sentiment often gets buried beneath an avalanche of  pink ribbons.

An estimated 266,120 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 – 40,920 – or over 15 percent will not survive.  The problem with these statistics is that they are just numbers. They don’t have names, faces, or voices to show us what they’ve been through. Cold hard breast cancer facts reduce the individual experience of every victim to nothing but numbers, and make us forget what we’re supposed to remember.

To conceptualize 40,920 people – imagine two Madison Square Gardens filled to capacity.  That’s how many women will die from breast cancer just this year. That means something.

We get so caught up in mindlessly ‘spreading awareness’ – wearing pink or retweeting the same breast cancer  meme for the millionth time – that we don’t stop and think about what any of it means.  We don’t think about the lives of the 266,120 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year – or how any of us – or our loved ones – could be one of them.

This year, instead of passive breast cancer awareness, take action in October.  Assess your risk for the disease. Schedule a screening mammogram at Bergen Imaging Center. Participate in a breast cancer walk to raise money for research, and lower your own risk (through exercise) at the same time. 

Whatever you do for Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2018 – make it meaningful.   Don’t just “think pink” – do something.