Last month, October, was Breast Cancer Awareness month. As the discussion around this pervasive cancer persists, more and more people are voicing their experiences, concern and plans of action.
How Common is Breast Cancer?
Most people today know or are related to a survivor or person struggling with breast cancer. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women (behind skin cancer) and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in women. Studies show that 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over her lifetime.
To put this in perspective, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation describes it this way: “Every 2 minutes a woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer.” Breast cancer does not only affect women. An estimated 2,470 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
Much attention has been directed towards the prevalence of breast cancer over the past few years since celebrities are starting to speak openly and candidly about their experience with breast cancer.
Most recently, Julia Louis-Dreyfus revealed that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. In a tweet, the actress wrote: “1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one. The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality.”
Many other women in Hollywood have discussed their battles with breast cancer including Olivia Newton John, Shannen Doherty, Rita Wilson, Melissa Etheridge, Christina Applegate, Sheryl Crow, and Cynthia Nixon. Another famous actress, Angelina Jolie has been vocal about the strategies she has used to prevent both breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
What Breast Cancer Charities to Avoid
With the amplitude of media and societal attention on the awareness of breast cancer, many people are eager to donate to the cause. However, a few of the most prominent and recognized breast cancer foundations have been under scrutiny for the mismanagement of funds.
In 2012, the Susan G. Komen Foundation was criticized for spending only 15% of its donations towards breast cancer research, which is less than what they spent on fundraising and administration costs at 18%. Many people running in the “Race for the Cure” event held by the Susan G. Komen Foundation were shocked.
In 2015, the Breast Cancer Society along with three other related cancer charities were declared to be shams by the Federal Trade Commission. Only 3% of donations to the Breast Cancer Society were spent on cancer patients. 97% of donations went to paying the executives, fundraisers, and personal purchases such as jet skis, lingerie, luxury cruises and even family college tuition.
Top 3 Breast Cancer Charities to Support
Needless to say, many donors are left scratching their heads when choosing a charity that supports breast cancer. Therefore, we have decided to recommend 3 charities that are related to breast cancer.
We have relied upon The American Institute of Philanthropy’s Charity Watch when determining these recommendations. Many different breast cancer organizations have different missions. Some are focused on research and finding a cure for breast cancer while others aim to make an impact on the lives of those battling with cancer.
When choosing to donate to a breast cancer charity, we recommend first deciding which of these missions you want to support. We will outline the mission of each of these charities to make your assessment easier.
No matter what, this fall season, if you want to contribute to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you can do so assuredly with the following three charities: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.
#1 The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
This foundation is the highest rated breast cancer charity in the United States. Charity Watch gives the Breast Cancer Research Foundation an A+ rating. Their mission is: “To prevent and cure breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research.” 90% of the money they receive through donations is contributed to this mission while 10% covers the organization’s overhead.
Evelyn H. Lauder founded the foundation in 1993 with the explicit focus on breast cancer research. On their website, the mission is further explained, “through a unique and streamlined grants program, we seek out the brightest minds in science and medicine and give them the necessary resources to pursue their best ideas”.
In 2017-2018, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will make a significant impact on the inroads towards a cure by awarding $59.5 million to 275 scientists at medical universities and facilities throughout the world.
#2 National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund
The National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund has been given an A rating by Charity Watch. This organization is committed to ending breast cancer and has a set a deadline to “know how to end breast cancer” by January 1, 2020. This organization plans to achieve their goal by committing to research, improved access to care, and education. 83% of every dollar that is donated to the organization goes toward their mission while 17% of donations go toward overhead.
This foundation was started in 1991 and since then they have covered many milestones including increasing federal funding for breast cancer research, creating a Annual Advocacy Training Conference, and started a Clinical Trials Initiative.
#3 Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
Charity Watch gives this foundation an A- rating. The mission of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners is, “Working to prevent breast cancer by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease.” 77% of all donations are pledged to this cause while 23% of donations are budgeted towards overhead.
In 1992 Andrea Ravinett Martin started the Breast Cancer Fund, which was recently renamed to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. In their 25-year history, this organization has published 30 major studies.
They have influenced many powerful individuals and companies to make changes toward breast cancer prevention. In California, with BCPP’s encouragement, the governor signed a medical radiation bill. And according to their website, BCPP aided in the following accomplishments: “Campbell’s announced a bisphenol A (BPA) phase-out, one of our major initiatives. Johnson & Johnson committed to Safer Cosmetics worldwide. Walmart and Target adopted Safe Chemicals policies.”
While choosing to donate to a charity for Breast Cancer Awareness month, it is highly recommended to make sure the charity is transparent, effective, and making an actual impact towards their mission. With these three charities, we believe you can do just that! Together we can make a change in the world and bring an end to breast cancer!