While many of us have been preoccupied with the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and rightfully so, October is also a time to bring awareness to another health challenge many face.
In New Zealand, more than 3,300 women across the country are diagnosed with breast cancer every year – that’s 9 women a day. One Māori woman a day will be diagnosed and 25 men are diagnosed each year too. Unfortunately 650 women a year will die from the disease.
In Australia, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with approximately 55 Australians diagnosed each and every day. That equates to over 20,000 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
These figures can be overwhelming, but serve as a reminder on the steps to take to be aware of the signs, helping to potentially improve the outcome should you be diagnosed, as well as sharing education and resources to others.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and along with a number of supporting businesses and organisations, the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ (BCFNZ) and the National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia (NBCF) have a number of initiatives to improve knowledge and to raise crucial funds that go into supporting people with breast cancer, and funding life-saving new research.
“Every October, some of the country’s favourite brands get on board with Breast Cancer Awareness Month by releasing special-edition Pink Products,” says Ah-Leen Rayner, chief executive of Breast Cancer Foundation NZ (BCFNZ). We’re incredibly grateful to our partners for backing this worthwhile cause.
“Nine women in Aotearoa New Zealand will be told they have breast cancer today and every year we still lose more than 650 women to the disease. Every Pink Product sold is a way to give back while you shop, with proceeds going towards vital research, education, and support for Kiwi families affected by breast cancer.”
How to mark Breast Cancer Awareness month
Check your breasts once a month
Learn the signs of breast cancer, and get to know your breasts – the way they feel, and the way they look. Breast cancer is most treatable when it’s found early and knowing your normal and recognising any changes, is said to be key. According to BCFNZ, women should be breast aware from age 20, which means you need to know the normal look and feel of your breasts, so you can tell your doctor if there are any changes. The best time to do a self-check is the week after your period, and you should continue doing it each month around the same time. Refresh your knowledge on how to self-check.
Book a mammogram
If you’re over 45, book in for a mammogram through BreastScreen Aotearoa or BreastScreen Australia or by asking your GP how to book. Taking half an hour to have one mammogram every two years could save your life. BCFNZ recommends considering annual mammograms from 40-49, then every two years from 50. In New Zealand free mammograms through BreastScreen Aotearoa are available when you’re 45-69, and the Government has committed to extending the age to 74. You can check the availability for routine screening during various lockdown levels here.
Donate to the appeal
Give a donation to the annual NZ street appeal on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 October. Should the street appeal be limited by COVID-19 lockdown levels in your area, you can still donate online. You can also join the annual Pink Ribbon fundraising walks around the country. According to BCFNZ the donations will help fund breast cancer education, innovative projects by some of the country’s top researchers, as well as support patients and their families. In Australia visit NBCF to donate online.
Purchase pink ribbon products
One of the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ’s goals is to achieve zero deaths from the disease. It’s a big goal, but one the foundation has remained dedicated to. When you use your purchasing power to select one of the officially affiliated products your money goes to helping the foundation continue to work towards that goal.
The number of products that contribute to the campaign annually has grown over the last few years and you can now select products from the supermarket, beauty counters and even home décor and furnishings retailers. Some of the products available in New Zealand this October are below. Some of these products are also available in Australia benefiting NBCF, but for the full range of pink ribbon products available in Australia, click here.
Estée Lauder Companies has had a long affiliation with work to find a cure for breast cancer, since Evelyn H. Lauder co-created the Pink Ribbon and started The Breast Cancer Campaign in 1992, donating significant funds to research around prevention, diagnosis and treatment. This year, it has a number of fundraising products available. The famous Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex serum that helps deeply hydrate skin and minimise the signs of aging comes with a limited-edition pink leather cover and the brand will donate 20% of the purchase price to BCFNZ. The deeply hydrating Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ comes in a limited edition pink bottle with removable keyring and the brand will donate $10 of the purchase price to BCFNZ.
This month, La Mer will donate 50% of the purchase price of the 30ml Crème de la Mer The Moisturizing Cream, a rich, luxurious face moisturiser, to BCFNZ. To support the cause Bobbi Brown has created the limited-edition Powerful Pinks Crushed Oil-Infused Gloss Duo, with its hydrating but non-sticky, high-shine lip glosses, from which 20% of the purchase price will go to BCFNZ.
ghd’s limited-edition pink collection reimagines its popular ghd platinum+ and ghd gold styling tools and its ghd Helios hairdryer in a rose-pink tone with metallic pink accents and features the brand’s campaign message, ‘Take control now’, a reminder to carry out regular self checks. $20 from every pink limited-edition purchase goes to BCFNZ.
Supporting BCFNZ for its 5th year, NZ’s Pink Lady apples donates $50,000 a year to BCFNZ as a diamond partner. Eta’s delicious limited edition Himalayan Pink Salt & Black Pepper flavour is back for another year. Eta will donate .30c from each bag purchased to BCFNZ. If cheese is more your thing but you still like a peppery tang, try Castello’s Double Cream Pink Pepper Brie, $1 from every purchase goes to BCFNZ.
Bred in NZ by Bob Matthews, the breathtaking Floribunda ‘Pink Ribbon’ rose is a stunning way to add the symbol of the fight to cure breast cancer to your garden. $2 from the sale of each plant will be donated to BCFNZ. Its available from Matthews Roses and selected garden centres nationwide. This year Sealy has created its Designer Bedroom campaign, where the each of the elements of a beautiful, calming space designed by interior designer Shelley Ferguson will be put up for auction on Trade Me from October 15th with all proceeds from the sale donated to BCFNZ.
- For more products and services that support the BCFNZ this month including carpet underlay, curtains and even your power bill, check out BCFNZ’s Pink Ribbon Products page.
- The information in this article has been sourced from Breast Cancer Foundation NZ and the National Breast Cancer Foundation Australia. Please ask your doctor for your own guidance around checking your breasts and any changes you have noticed.