About 12% of women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetimes.
That’s according to the American Cancer Society, which also notes that about 268,600 women will be diagnosed with new cases of invasive breast cancer this year. About 42,000 will die. Breast cancer affects men, too. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883. That’s why organizations battling breast cancer — such as the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen Puget Sound — play such a crucial role in educating and working to eradicate this terrible disease. It’s also why everyone must get involved in a big way.
That’s exactly what we’re doing at Seattle Business magazine. We’re partnering with the American Cancer Society on the nonprofit’s annual “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign aimed at community leaders. The campaign seeks to raise awareness and money to support the cancer society’s mission.
“Real Men Wear Pink gives men a leadership role in the fight against breast cancer,” says Christina Kelly, communications director for the Seattle-based American Cancer Society–West Region. “Community leaders around the nation use the power of pink to raise awareness and money for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer initiatives, including innovative research, patient services, and education around screenings and risk reduction. It’s one important way we’re attacking cancer from every angle.”
Last year, Tom Flookes — IBM Global Business Services associate partner, who is based in Issaquah — ranked as the campaign’s seventh-leading fundraiser across the nation, raising $44,754.
Flookes did more than just dress the part. He dyed his hair bright pink. He called it “a conversation starter” that drew attention to the cause.
“We know that early detection saves lives, so if we increase awareness, encourage more men to take an active role, and show interest in the workforce, we can have a profound impact,” Flookes said last summer. “We lose 1,600 people to cancer every day and it’s a problem that screams for help. I want to help.”
David Richart understands. As executive director of Susan G. Komen Puget Sound, he’s on the front lines in the battle to end breast cancer. Komen is focused on investing in cutting-edge research and expanding access to health care. Richart is not afraid to wear pink, either.
“As men, it’s our role to help the women in our lives make sure they are getting their mammograms once a year and to figure out their risk. It’s scary, to men and women,” Richart says. “Three men on my board have all lost their wives to breast cancer, all women in their 30s. People think this is a disease for older women. It’s not.”
I’ve personally known two women who battled breast cancer. One had a double mastectomy. In her own words, she was lucky. The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 6,000 women in Washington state this year will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Almost 900 will die.
I’ve got my pink shirts and pink ties ready. Join me. Go to RealMenWearPinkACS.org/seattlewa and find out how to get involved.