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Understanding Breast Cancer

Making sense of the ever-changing world of breast cancer can be overwhelming. The Understanding Breast Cancersection of our website is your one-stop resource for the latest information on breast cancer risk factors, early detection and screening, diagnosis and treatment. You also can find the latest information regarding integrative and complementary therapies, follow-up, support, quality of care and much more.

The Understanding Breast Cancer Guide at the top left provides a complete list of all the topics found in Understanding Breast Cancer. Choosing a section (such as Treatment) below the Guide at the left will take you to a menu of the topics covered only in that section.

The Understanding Breast Cancer section was co-developed with Harvard Medical School faculty and Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center staff.


Thanks to the American Cancer Society and dramatic improvements in cancer research,

treatment and early detection, millions of women are surviving breast cancer today.

I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer

We have the latest information on everything from understanding your diagnosis to treatment options to improving your quality of life after treatment. You can also check out our Breast Cancer 101 interactive tool or our interactive treatment navigational tool for newly diagnosed patients. So whether you’ve been recently diagnosed, have just finished treatment or have been a survivor for many years, you’ll get the answers you need to stay informed.

Treatment Nav Tool Graphic                     BC 101 Tool graphic

Someone I know was diagnosed

It may be a friend, a family member or a co-worker who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Regardless of who you know, you will likely want answers to your questions. We’ll help you learn everything you can about being a co-survivor, including basic information about breast cancer, how to find resources and how to offer the best support.

Get the Answers

Are you looking to help your loved one find information on breast cancer? Or, do you now have questions or concerns about your own risk of breast cancer? A woman’s breasts go through many changes during her lifetime.  It’s important to know which changes are normal and which are not. Understand the risk factors, get diagnosis and treatment information and much more.

Learn More

What to say to a loved one

Is someone you know battling breast cancer or stepping back into “normal life” after treatment? Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say or do. Our fact sheets and information about breast cancer and its emotional impact can help you meet the needs of your loved one.

Learn More

Dr. Theresa Ramsey

 5 Things We Can Do To Prevent Breast Cancer

Top Ten Cancer Fighting Foods

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How to find support

As a co-survivor, you provide much needed support for your loved one.  But, you need support too. Learn how to cope and connect with other co-survivors.

Learn More

Home > Get Involved

Get Involved

You may be a runner. A volunteer. Or an activist. But however you choose to get involved, just know that everything you do makes a difference. After all, without the support of people like you, we know 10 million people could die of breast cancer in the next 25 years. Susan G. Komen for the Cure® strives to raise funds and educate people in the battle against breast cancer through global events and legislative actions each year. Breast cancer is still killing and impacting far too many of our loved ones. So, how will you get involved?


Your Support Makes an Impact

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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month


The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.

Since its inception more than 25 years ago, NBCAM has been at the forefront of promoting awareness of breast cancer issues and has evolved along with the national dialogue on breast cancer. NBCAM recognizes that, although many great strides have been made in breast cancer awareness and treatment, there remains much to be accomplished. Today, we remain dedicated to educating and empowering women to take charge of their own breast health.

Although October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NBCAM is dedicated to raising awareness and educating individuals about breast cancer throughout the year. We encourage you to regularly visit these sites to learn more about breast cancer, breast health, and the latest research developments. Click on any of the websites below for more information.

View our list of participating organizations »
Click here for NBCAM merchandise »

Find a Low Cost Screening Location near you

Click here for more information.

NBCAM Collaborating Organizations

Consider visiting these sites to learn more about breast cancer, breast health, the latest research developments, awareness events, and patient resources. Read the organization’s descriptions and click on any of the websites below for more information.
American Cancer SocietyAmerican Cancer Society (ACS) is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem … more »
American College of Obstetricians and GynecologistsAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), founded in 1951, is the nation’s leading group of professionals providing health care for women. … more »
American College of RadiologyAmerican College of Radiology (ACR) is a major national medical specialty association comprised of radiologists, radiation oncologists, and medical physicists. The College has grown from a group of 20 physicians meeting for the first time in 1923 to a 32,000 member service organization. …
more »
The American Society of Clinical OncologyThe American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 30,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. … more »
The American Medical Women's AssociationThe American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) is an organization of women physicians, medical students, and other persons dedicated to serving as the unique voice for women’s health and the advancement of women in medicine. …
more »
AstraZeneca HealthCare FoundationAstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, established in 1993, is a Delaware not-for-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) entity organized for charitable purposes, including to promote public awareness of health care issues, to promote public education of medical knowledge, and to support or contribute to charitable and qualified exempt organizations consistent with its charitable purpose. …
more »
Cancer CareCancerCare helps individuals and families better cope with and manage the emotional and practical challenges arising from cancer. Our services — for patients, survivors, loved ones, caregivers, and the bereaved — include counseling and support groups, educational publications and workshops, and financial assistance. …more »
Men Against Breast CancerMen Against Breast Cancer (MABC), founded in 1999, is the first national non-profit to provide national support services to educate and empower men to be effective care givers, help men cope with the impact of a loved one’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, and target and mobilize men to be active participants in the fight to eradicate breast cancer as a life threatening disease. …
more »
National Medical AssociationNational Medical Association (NMA), established in 1895, is the largest and oldest professional, educational and scientific organization representing the interests of African American physicians and their patients. …
more »
The Oncology Nursing SocietyThe Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) is a professional organization of more than 35,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals committed to excellence in oncology nursing and to leading the transformation of cancer care by initiating and actively supporting educational, … more »
Prevent Cancer Foundation Prevent Cancer Foundation is a national nonprofit health organization whose mission is the prevention of cancer through scientific research and education. … more »
Susan G. Komen for the Cure®Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is a global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $1.9 billion since inception in 1982. …
more »

Additional Resources

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid ServicesCenters for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CMS runs the Medicare program, Medicaid program, and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) … more »

National Cancer Institute

National Cancer Institute (NCI), based in Bethesda, MD, is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Federal government’s lead agency for cancer research and education. … more »

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Bullying is a serious issue.

160,000 students are staying home everyday because they are afraid of being bullied.

The roommate of Tyler Clementi (pictured on cover of People magazine)

was indicted by a grand jury  on April 20 on 15 charges including bias and invasion of privacy.

Empower yourself and your friends to be part of the solution to bullying.
 Join Hey U.G.L.Y.  and the growing group of celebrities
who are speaking out against being MEAN.

Create a film/video about why Bullies and

victims of bullying don’t feel good enough in our I AM ENOUGH Video Contest

 You could win $250.

Remind your fellow students that bullies are mean because
they are usually being bullied by someone who is
being mean to them.  Someone is filling their heads with contagious hate so …

Don’t catch it!

And, if you are being cyberbullied click here now!

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What is Bullying?

Bullying is a form of abuse. It is repeated acts over time that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power with the more powerful individual or group abusing those who are less powerful.  The power imbalance may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is often referred to as a target.

What Are the Different Types of Bullying?

There are four main types of Bullying.  These include:

1. Physical Bullying involves physical contact that would hurt or injure another person or their property.  Examples include: hitting, kicking, pinching, pushing, punching, scratching, spitting or any other form of physical attack.

2. Verbal Bullying is the most common form of bullying. Examples include: name calling, insulting, teasing, making racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, using sexually suggestive or abusive language, offensive remarks.

3. Emotional Bullying in an indirect form of bullying and is most common among girls. Examples include: isolation, spreading rumors or lies about the target

4. Cyber Bullying is any type of bullying that is carried out by an electronic medium.  Examples include: text messages, picture/video clip, phone calls, E-mail, chat rooms or instant messaging, social networking sites.

The Bullying Circle

Bullying affects more than just one student.  Nearly one in five students in an average classroom is experiencing bullying in some way. The rest of the students, called bystanders, are also affected by the bullying.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

ARAG offers 7 Tips to Keep Your Child Safe From Cyberbullying

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 – 8:08 am

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 1, 2013 –/PRNewswire/ — Cyberbullying is more than just “kids being kids.” While it generally starts as a face-to-face encounter with someone the victim knows, texts and social media can quickly evolve the situation into widespread harassment and public humiliation. Digital abuse or “cyberbullying” can take many forms from sending mean messages or threats, spreading rumors, posting unflattering pictures or pretending to be someone else online. More than 80 percent of teens use cell phones regularly, and about half have experienced some kind of abuse through social and digital media.1(Logo:

“Cyberbullying is a growing issue and it’s critical that young people understand the consequences of what they post online,” says Ann Cosimano, General Counsel of ARAG®, a global provider of legal solutions.  “Even something intended as a joke could reflect badly on them later when they apply for college or a job. And if remarks are intended to hurt or harass someone, the sender could lose a cell phone or online account. As laws in every state become stricter, cyberbullies – and their parents – are more frequently facing legal charges for harassment.”

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an annual event created to unite communities and educate the public on how to protect children from the effects of bullying.  It’s a good opportunity to talk with your children and find out more about their school and online experiences with cyberbullying. Consider these tips to as a way to start the conversation and stay safer online.

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  1. “Once your child has a personal phone or social media account, it’s time to explain the consequences of what’s posted,” says Cosimano. “Set – and keep – boundaries that consider loss of phone or computer privileges if damaging pictures or messages are posted or forwarded.”
  2. Make sure teens know that what goes online, stays online. “Any electronic message is, or can be, made, public very easily,” says Cosimano. “I remind my kids regularly: if you don’t want everyone to know, don’t send it online. Better yet, follow the old adage, if you’d be embarrassed if it was published on the front page of the newspaper, then don’t write it.”
  3. Encourage your children to tell an adult if they see cyberbullying happen. Let them know they will not be punished if they are the victim and reassure them that being bullied is not their fault.
  4. If your child is harassed, keep all cyberbullying messages as proof. Depending on the severity of the message, parents may want to involve the school or the police. While going directly to the bully’s parents might provide relief, it is not always practical or possible. In this case, letting the school, the cell phone carrier or internet service provider intervene may be an effective first step.
  5. If necessary, block the person who is sending harassing messages. You may also need to get a new phone number or email address and be cautious about who receives the new contact information.
  6. “Make sure teens never share passwords with anyone except a parent,” says Cosimano. “Don’t write it down or place it in a place where others could find it.”
  7. Parents may want to keep the computer in a shared space such as a family room and limitInternet access in a teen’s room. “It’s also important to have times when everyone simply turns off all the technology. It’s tough when everyone is busy, but set boundaries at meal time or a certain time in the evening when everyone turns off cell phones, tablets and computers.”


Bullying is one of several unexpected legal issues that can happen with your children as they grow up. For a closer look at some of the possible, but unplanned situations you could face, download a free copy of ARAG’s guidebook, Legal Issues as Your Children Grow Up. To further safeguard against legal issues, check with your employer about enrolling in legal insurance coverage where you work. Comprehensive legal plans, such as those offered by ARAG, provide plan members with a wide range of services ranging from attorney consultation on drafting letters to the school, or preparing for presentation in an administrative hearing.

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In support of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is providing resources for families, teens, educators, clinicians, mental health professionals, and law enforcement personnel on how to recognize, deal with, and prevent bullying.

Bullying can be verbal, physical, or via the Internet. It can severely affect the victim’s self-image, social interactions, and school performance―often leading to insecurity, lack of self-esteem, and depression in adulthood. School dropout rates and absences among victims of bullying are much higher than among other students.

Studies have shown that children who have been identified as a bully by age eight are six times more likely to have a criminal conviction by age 24. Children who are bullies may continue to be bullies as adults, and are more prone to becoming child and spouse abusers.

The following resources provide information regarding bullying and bullying prevention for families and their communities.

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Healthy teeth and gums aren’t a luxury.

They’re essential.



That’s because our dental health has an impact on our overall health and neglecting one can negatively impact the other. That’s why the American Dental Association (ADA) is launching Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference, a nationwide campaign aimed at boldly addressing the dental health crisis facing America today.

All Americans deserve good dental health

Graphic of Dental Health Crisis StatsA new survey by Harris Interactive confirms there is a dental health crisis in America today, especially for lower-income adults. An analysis by the ADA’s Health Policy Resources Center (HPRC) shows the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will offer little relief for adult Americans who lack dental coverage. Read the full analysis.

The causes of the dental health crisis are varied and complex. But we know that for each of us – and for the nation as a whole – it’s never too late to get on top of our dental health. Action for Dental Health aims to prevent dental disease before it starts and reduce the proportion of adults and children with untreated dental disease. Our goal is to help all Americans attain their best oral health. Read more about the goals for Action for Dental Health.

Three-pronged action plan

Action for Dental Health is comprehensive in its approach and scope and is designed to address the dental health crisis in three distinct areas:

  1. Provide care now to people who are suffering, including the uninsured who are more likely to visit an emergency room for relief from dental pain, the elderly in nursing homes, and children from low-income families.
  2. Strengthen the dental safety net with more private practice dentists working with health centers and participating in Medicaid.
  3. Prevention and education through community water fluoridation, Community Dental Health Coordinators, and stronger collaboration between dentistry and medicine.

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The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company proudly announce their fourth annual collaboration for October’s National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM). National Dental Hygiene Month, with the theme “Brush. Floss. Rinse. Chew.”, showcases the commitment of ADHA and Wrigley, the makers of Orbit® sugar-free gum, to improving the nation’s oral health.

This year’s National Dental Hygiene Month will feature a national radio media tour highlighting the importance of proper dental hygiene with ADHA President Denise Bowers, RDH, PhD. In addition, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation, in partnership with the ADHA Institute for Oral Health (IOH), is offering community service grants of $2,500 and $5,000 to applicants pursuing projects intended to improve their community’s oral health. The application deadline is November 1, 2013. More information can be found on the ADHAIOH website.

The 2013 NDHM is the capstone of ADHA’s yearlong centennial celebration of the founding of dental hygiene in 1913. For state and local dental hygienists’ associations, public relations materials are on the Resources page. These can be used to promote any state or local dental hygienists’ association NDHM event.

Patients can review the following “Brush. Floss. Rinse. Chew.” guidelines and apply them to their daily oral health regimen. Those needing more information about oral health can go to the Patient Resources category in the Resources section.


2 minutes, 2 times a day

Research shows that brushing for two minutes is the single most important method for reducing plaque and preventing cavities, gingivitis and other plaque-related diseases. Brushing for two minutes twice a day is crucial to maintaining healthy smiles. Proper brushing technique cleans teeth and gums effectively, so read on for advice on how to brush properly:


Every day

Daily flossing (or other methods of interdental cleaning) removes plaque and food particles that cannot be reached by a toothbrush, particularly under the gumline and between teeth. Plaque that builds up in these areas can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Getting into the routine of daily flossing can be a challenge. Making flossing easier can improve compliance with recommendations for daily flossing. If you resist flossing, try to determine why and tell your dental hygienist. Knowing the precise reason you are not flossing will enable them to recommend floss with the right thickness, coating or filaments so you might be encouraged to floss more often.
More educational information and resources:


With mouthwash

Rinsing your mouth each day with an anti-microbial mouth rinse is another important step you can take to prevent gum disease (gingivitis). Think about it—teeth make up less than half of your mouth. Brushing and flossing cannot get all plaque and germs. Be sure to finish your oral care routine with an antiseptic mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Speak with your dental hygienist for more information on which mouth rinse is right for you and read on for more educational information and resources: