Chicago is home to a range of organizations raising breast cancer awareness and offering assistance to those affected by the disease
By Jessica Reaves
It’s October, and that means it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During these next few weeks, Chicago will be awash in a now-familiar pink hue—on display everywhere from the Bears’ team uniforms to the windows of Oak Street’s exclusive boutiques.
Sadly, the ubiquity of pink—the signature color of breast cancer awareness—mirrors the ubiquity of the disease. By now, most of us know the grim statistics: 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, and last year, about 40,000 women were killed by breast cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health.
That’s the bad news. The good news (yes, there’s good news) is that, thanks to advances in diagnostics and treatment, more women are surviving longer with breast cancer—or beating the disease altogether.
If you or a loved one has been affected by breast cancer, Chicago’s major hospitals offer cancer patients and their families a range of resources and educational programs. Most are free and open to the public and go well beyond the health implications of cancer, providing guidance on relationships, finances, job security and self-esteem—all of which can be dramatically impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis.
Here are links to resources and schedules of events at some of our city’s leading medical centers:
For a broad overview of research programs, healthy lifestyle tips and national breast cancer-related resources, visit the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer pages here.
Even if you’re not facing breast cancer yourself, there are plenty of ways to fight back against the disease. Among them, you can learn about risk factors for breast cancer and how to live a healthier life, or you can contribute time or money to a Chicago organization that helps patients and families cope with this life-altering diagnosis.
Gilda’s Club Chicago provides free social and emotional support to cancer patients as well as their family and friends.
Imerman Angels offers one-on-one support by matching a cancer patient or survivor with someone who has experienced the same type of disease.
The Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation raises money to promote breast cancer research (through Northwestern Memorial Hospital).[email_link]