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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) program is dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of the early detection of breast cancer through a nationwide campaign held in October. NBCAM started as a weeklong campaign in 1985 with 2 founding members. Today the American Cancer Society is one of many national public service organizations, professional associations, and government agencies that form the NBCAM Board of Sponsors. During NBCAM, the member organizations of the Board of Sponsors join forces to spread the message that early detection of breast cancer followed by prompt treatment saves lives.

The American Cancer Society programs that are available to achieve these goals include:

National Cancer Information Center

Trained Cancer Information Specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to offer the comfort of live support, answer questions about cancer, link callers with resources in their communities, and provide information on local events.

Spanish-speaking information specialists are available, and callers who speak languages other than English and Spanish can also be assisted.

To reach the National Cancer Information Center, call 1-800-227-2345.

Email National Cancer Information Center

The American Cancer Society’s email center is a cancer information service that allows cancer patients, their families, and the public to ask questions about cancer and receive prompt and unbiased information from a Cancer Information Specialist or an oncology nurse.

Visit the Society’s Web site at www.cancer.org and click on “contact us.”

American Cancer Society Web site

The Society’s user-friendly Web site, www.cancer.org, provides in-depth information on every major cancer type. The site provides answers to questions about breast cancer, risk factors, strategies for early detection, new diagnostic techniques, and the latest treatment options. Select content is also available in Spanish.

Visit the part of our Web site dedicated to breast cancer at www.cancer.org/breastcancer.

The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer

The Society provides a complete set of recommendations for detecting breast cancer early—when it’s small and has not spread. Emphasis is on the need for women ages 40 and older to get a mammogram and clinical breast exam every year.

See the full guidelines and learn more about breast cancer risk factors and screening tests in our document called Breast Cancer Early Detection.

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

To reduce disparities in breast cancer among medically underserved populations, the American Cancer Society is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote the need for and importance of their National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). The NBCCEDP provides access to breast and cervical cancer screening tests and follow-up services for low-income, uninsured, and under-insured women.

Reach To Recovery®

The Society’s Reach To Recovery program relies on trained volunteers who are breast cancer survivors. These people have “been there” and are able to help newly diagnosed breast cancer patients cope with their disease by providing emotional support and information.

Look Good Feel Better®

This free, national public service program is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, and the Professional Beauty Association | National Cosmetology Association. Look Good Feel Better programs teach female cancer patients beauty techniques to help restore their appearance and self-image during cancer treatments. Services include 2-hour group makeover workshops and one-on-one salon consultations. The program also provides educational materials.

For more information, call 1-800-395-LOOK (1-800-395-5665) or your local American Cancer Society office.

Tender Loving Care®

Tender Loving Care, or “tlc”® is the American Cancer Society’s direct mail/online catalog and magazine for women. It offers helpful articles, medical information, and special products for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, breast cancer survivors, and any woman experiencing treatment-related hair loss. Products include a variety of hats, turbans, kerchiefs, hairpieces, swimwear, mastectomy bras, and breast forms.

You can order items by phone at 1-800-850-9445 or online at www.tlcdirect.org.

I Can Cope®

I Can Cope® is a free online educational program for people facing cancer and their families and friends. The program is comprised of self-paced classes that can be taken any time, day or night. Take as few or as many classes as you like. Many topics are offered such as information about cancer, managing treatments and side effects, healthy eating during and after treatment, communicating with family and friends, finding resources, and more. These free classes are available any time at www.cancer.org/onlineclasses.

Online support

The American Cancer Society offers several online communities to help people with cancer connect to others who are facing the disease. Each offers a different level of privacy and different types of interactions to meet the diverse needs of people with cancer and their caregivers.

Learn more about these communities at www.cancer.org/supportcommunities.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

This non-profit, non-partisan, sister organization of the American Cancer Society uses issue campaigns and voter education aimed at lawmakers and candidates to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. ACS CAN volunteers can help by contacting their lawmakers to ask for their support of important cancer-related issues.

Currently, ACS CAN is working to promote greater funding for breast cancer research and for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), which provides low-income, uninsured and under-insured women access to mammograms and follow-up services.

Visit www.acscan.org/breastcancer to learn more.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a nationwide event that unites communities to walk together, one million strong, as the most powerful force to end breast cancer. Making Strides walkers turn awareness into action by raising more than $60 million each year so that the American Cancer Society can work to save lives from breast cancer.

Making Strides walkers and supporters can be proud that their efforts are helping more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors living in the US celebrate another birthday this year.

Relay For Life®

This unique community event celebrates survivorship and raises money for cancer-fighting programs. Teams of 8 to 15 people camp out overnight at a local stadium, park, or fairground and take turns walking around a track or path for 12 to 24 hours.

Relay For Life usually begins with a survivor lap in which cancer survivors take a victory lap around the track. Later, a candlelight ceremony is held to honor cancer survivors and remember those lost to the disease.

Breast cancer screening reminder

The Society’s free breast cancer screening reminder allows women to register for a yearly email reminding them to schedule the breast cancer screening tests recommended for their age group by the American Cancer Society. To sign up for your breast cancer screening reminder, visit www.cancer.org/remindme.


For more than 65 years, the American Cancer Society’s Research Program has been finding answers that help us better understand how to prevent, detect, and treat all cancer types, including breast cancer.

The Society has played a role in many of the advances that save lives from breast cancer today, including showing that mammograms are effective screening tests for breast cancer, helping to fund the development of tamoxifen and trastuzumab (Herceptin), and finding that genetics, diet, lack of exercise, and moderate drinking increase a person’s cancer risk.

We invest more in breast cancer research than any other cancer type. Today, we fund 233 research grants for a total of more than $85 million related to breast cancer.

Last Medical Review: 08/23/2012
Last Revised: 08/23/2012