National Breast Cancer Coalition

How to Talk to My Friends and Family

Why would I talk to my family, friends or interest groups about breast cancer?

The truth will not harm women. But misinformation can. And there is much misinformation around breast cancer. It is crucial that you speak to those close to you to dispel some of the long-standing myths held about breast cancer. For example, breast self-exam (BSE) was once announced as a revolutionary public health message. This positioned women as the first line of defense – in hopes that frequent checks would eliminate the chance for breast cancer to grow for too long, or develop aggressively. Now evidence actually shows that BSE does not save lives, or detect breast cancer at an earlier stage. But it can cause harm. While each woman’s personal experience varies, it is important to learn about the evidence so that your friends and family can make informed decisions and their own choices.

Many people believe that the majority of breast cancer patients have ac family history of the disease, when actually, 8 out of 9 women who develop breast cancer do not have an affected mother, sister or daughter. The people you know and love deserve to know the truth about breast cancer, such as the fact that white women are more likely to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, but African American women have a higher mortality rate.

The myths and misinformation have been out there for too long. Many women and men have overestimated or underestimated their risk, changed behaviors in ways that were not helpful, and made decisions based on incorrect assumptions. Talk to people you know and love – your family, friends, colleagues, church members, book club members, etc. – so that they will know the truth about breast cancer. And, then ask them to tell the people that they know and love.
  
Breast cancer is a political issue that requires grassroots advocacy and action. Grassroots advocacy is most effective when as many people as possible are involved – that’s why it’s important to recruit your personal network to NBCC’s mission to end breast cancer. Together, we can create change and eradicate breast cancer.

How do I talk to my family, friends or interest groups about breast cancer?

  1. Review the 31 Myths & Truths about breast cancer to get a good overview of the various topics that are often shared in the media and among the general population. Take a look and find the topics of most interest to you and your network.
  2. Make sure you use the resources available to you at BreastCancerDeadline2020.org. NBCC holds some positions on issues such as screening and self-exam that may challenge the long-held beliefs of people you know, but be assured that all positions are based on scientific research and are carefully analyzed and fact checked. Using the website you will be able to: cite research, download materials, read position papers and keep up to date on legislative "happenings on the Hill."
  3. Tell your family and friends about your involvement with NBCC, whether you’ve attended a course in the Center for NBCC Advocacy Training (such as Project LEAD®), registered for the National Action Network, or have just taken the first step and signed up for the e-newsletter.
  4. Ask your family, friends and colleagues to take the next step. They can read all 31 Myths & Truths, learn more about breast cancer and take action.
  5. Recruit people in your personal network to become members of NBCC. Go to BreastCancerDeadline2020.org and click on Donate to find easy ways to support our work and ensure that more people learn the truth about breast cancer. Start a friend-raising campaign to recruit your friends and family to join us in our mission to eradicate breast cancer.