When you or your company donate to a breast cancer charity, you can impact lives, support treatment, and create hope. Donations of all sizes can make a difference and help both individuals and the nonprofits that focus on breast cancer awareness, care, and prevention. Further, donors and partners today enjoy a wealth of options when it comes to outstanding, dedicated breast cancer nonprofits.
“Where should I donate?” is one of the most common questions Googled on the topic of breast cancer, but the answer is not simple. One big misconception is that all breast cancer charities are the same. Another misconception is that there is one large umbrella organization calling the shots.
In reality, there are several large national organizations that have built trust over many decades and impact the lives of millions. These are the organizations with the brands and names you may recognize—American Cancer Society, Breastcancer.org, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Young Survival Coalition.
There are also many grassroots organizations that specifically focus on impacting their local communities. These smaller breast cancer charities may provide excellent support locally, but their brand recognition or impact may not extend beyond their community.
Each breast cancer organization has its own mission, visions, goals, and ideas about how to impact the lives of people affected by breast cancer. This is why research is crucial when you’re making a donation.
When selecting a breast cancer charity to identify with or support, it’s important to choose one that’s right for you (or your company) and aligns with your goals, and maybe even your own personality.
Here are a few of the top breast cancer charities, what they do, and what makes them unique: (listed in alphabetical order)
Founded in 1913, American Cancer Society (ACS) is the oldest and largest cancer organization in the United States. Its mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. Though ACS supports all cancer types, their decades-long work in breast cancer is noteworthy. ACS has funded billions in cancer research, and helped launch life-saving breakthroughs that have impacted millions of breast cancer patients. ACS supports breast cancer patients by providing:
American Cancer Society’s notable history sets them apart. Over the decades, ACS has funded dozens of Nobel Prize laureates, including James D. Watson, whose work led to the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA.
Breastcancer.org is dedicated to providing information and community to those touched by this disease. Breastcancer.org was founded in 2000 for breast cancer patients who needed more information and support than a doctor’s visit could provide. Breastcancer.org hosts the world’s largest breast cancer peer community and has reached hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Breastcancer.org’s website helps patients understand breast cancer:
Breastcancer.org publishes peer-reviewed summary articles that help explain the latest in breast cancer research.
Founded in 1993 by Evelyn Lauder, Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s (BCRF) mission is to prevent and cure breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research. BCRF is the largest breast cancer charity in the country dedicated solely to supporting research. They currently fund 275 researchers focused on specific areas of breast cancer as a complex disease, including:
In 2018, BCRF-funded researchers completed the 10-year TAILORx trial, which helped thousands of early-stage breast cancer patients avoid the use of chemotherapy treatment.
Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national nonprofit that connects people with trusted information and a community of support. Dr. Marisa C. Weiss, a radiation oncologist, founded Living Beyond Breast Cancer in 1991 in response to a lack of resources and support for her patients. Today, hundreds of thousands of people turn to Living Beyond Breast Cancer for trusted information, connection, and support. Living Beyond Breast Cancer offers multiple points of contact for patients, through:
Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Breast Cancer Helpline connects patients in need with trained volunteers for emotional support, guidance, and hope. Patients can be matched with trained volunteers with similar breast cancer experiences based on type, stage, age, or area of concern.
National Breast Cancer Foundation’s (NBCF) mission is to help women now by providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services. Founded in 1991 by breast cancer survivor Janelle Hail, NBCF envisions a world where no one will navigate breast cancer alone. NBCF has provided over a million free mammograms, early detection, and patient navigation services to uninsured patients and those in need of financial assistance. Their programs include:
After hearing the concerns of metastatic patients, NBCF recently launched a metastatic retreat program for Stage IV breast cancer patients and their caregivers. During the retreats, patients and caregivers receive oncology consultations, end-of-life preparations, and thorough examination of patient’s hopes and fears.
In 1980, Nancy Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan Komen, that she would do everything she could to end breast cancer. Brinker started Susan G. Komen Foundation in 1982, and it is now the largest breast cancer organization in the United States. Komen’s mission is to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening, and treatment. Komen invests in programs that offer breast cancer patients a comprehensive approach to fighting the disease with a focus on:
Komen recently launched the African-American Health Equity Initiative with the goal to reduce disparities in the breast cancer mortality rate.
In 1998, a group of young (under 40) breast cancer survivors founded Young Survival Coalition (YSC) to address the unique challenges they faced. YSC strengthens the community, addresses its unique needs, amplifies younger voices, and improves the quality of life of young adults affected by breast cancer. YSC’s programs address topics that young adults diagnosed with breast cancer face, such as:
YSC’s National Summit is the largest annual gathering of young breast cancer survivors. Featuring inspirational speakers, the conference allows young patients to attend workshops that address their unique needs and connect with others in their community.
No matter which of the above breast cancer charities you or your company select, you can be confident that you are making a good decision and one that can improve lives. If you choose to donate to a smaller, local organization, do some research ahead of time to ensure the organization aligns with your goals and values.
In summary, here is a review of several key breast cancer charities:
American Cancer Society – Provides research and help in the effort to end all cancers
Breastcancer.org – Helps readers understand the complexities of breast health and breast cancer
Breast Cancer Research Foundation – Focuses entirely on breast cancer research to fuel their mission of preventing and curing all breast cancer
Living Beyond Breast Cancer – Connects those impacted by breast cancer to information and a community of support
National Breast Cancer Foundation – Delivers help and hope when those affected by breast cancer need it most—now
Susan G. Komen Foundation – Addresses breast cancer on various fronts to fund their mission of eradicating breast cancer
Young Survivor Coalition – Offers the largest community and resources for survivors under the age of 40
Donations are always appreciated, but there are lots of great ways to get involved.