Being “tough” means something different to everyone. But if you ask me, it’s all about staying steady when the going gets rough. As the old saying goes, “The strength of a man isn’t in the weight he can lift, but in the burdens he can carry.”
If breast cancer has touched someone close to you, you’re no stranger to difficult times. As an industry, we can do more to bring awareness to this important cause. I caught up with Gayla Clark, National Account Manager at 3M Electrical Markets Division, to discuss 3M’s Pink Hard Hat Campaign.
In honor of all the brave ladies in our lives, we’re wearing pink with pride this October.
3M’s Pink Hard Hat Campaign
To help finish the fight against breast cancer, 3M teamed up with the American Cancer Society to create the Pink Hard Hat Campaign. Every October for the past three years, electrical contractors around the country have donned 3M pink hard hats in support of breast cancer awareness.
“Electrical contractors are our team player, “Gayla says with pride. “These are some pretty tough folks who have supported family members, friends, and co-workers affected by breast cancer. It’s really quite a tribute.” In support of research, awareness, and early detection, 3M Electrical Markets Division has already made a $45,000 donation to the American Cancer Society.
Breast Cancer Awareness
The American Cancer Society reports that breast cancer death rates have been steadily dropping since around 1989 and that “these decreases are believed to be the result of finding breast cancer earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better treatments.”
Now more than ever, it’s important to get educated on risk factors, detection, and screening, and encourage the women in your life to do the same.
According to the American Cancer Society, “About 1 in 8 American women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.” The American Cancer Society lists a few key risk factors for developing breast cancer, some of which include:
- Getting Older: The risk of breast cancer increases with age, with most invasive cancers found in women 55 and older.
- Inherited Genes: A small percentage of breast cancers (between 5-10 percent) are believed to be hereditary.
- Family History: 8 out of 10 women with breast cancer don’t have a family history of the disease, but women with close blood relatives with breast cancer have a higher risk.
- Personal History: Women who have previously battled breast cancer have a greater risk of developing a new cancer in a different part of the same breast or in the other breast.
- Dense Breast Tissue: In some women, breast tissue is more glandular and fibrous and less fatty. For these women, the risk of breast cancer is 1.2 to 2 times greater.
- Certain Benign Breast Conditions: Some non-cancerous breast conditions may increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Early Menstruation & Late Menopause: Women who start menstruation before age 12 or enter menopause after age 55 have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.
- Chest Radiation: Women treated with radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30 have a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (DES): Women who took diethylstilbestrol (DES), and women of mothers who took DES while pregnant, have a greater risk of breast cancer.
- Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle factors have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, such as being overweight or obese, not having children or having children after the age of 30, consuming alcohol, and taking oral contraceptives.
Screening & Early Detection
According to the American Cancer Society, early detection is crucial, since breast cancers that can be felt “tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread outside the breast.” The American Cancer Society recommends that:
- Women between the ages of 40 and 44 should have an annual breast screening with a mammogram.
- Women between the ages of 45 and 54 should get a mammogram once a year.
- Women over the age of 55 should get a mammogram once every year or two.
- Women at a higher risk of breast cancer should get an MRI and a mammogram once a year.
Although some breast cancers don’t present any symptoms, the American Cancer Society cautions women to keep an eye out for a few common warning signs, which may include:
- An irregular breast mass or lump
- Dimpling, skin irritation, or swelling
- Nipple or breast pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Scaliness, redness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Visit the American Cancer Society’s website to read up on signs and symptoms, prevention and early detection, and treatment and support.
Wear Your Heart On Your Head
“Wearing a 3M pink hard hat is a great way to show support and get the word out,” Gayla told Graybar. “If we can get more awareness around the initiative, then we can save lives.” Here’s how contractors can support this cause:
- Order a 3M pink hard hat and wear it with pride
- Organize a fundraiser or make a donation directly
- Get educated on prevention, detection, and screening, and encourage the women in your life to do the same
- Participate in 3M’s “Are You Tough Enough To Wear Pink?” challenge:
• Strike your best tough guy/gal pose in your pink 3M hard hat
• Post the photo on Facebook with the hashtag #toughenoughtowearpink
• Nominate two people to “get tough”
• A panel of judges will pick the winning “tough guy” photo, and the winner will be featured in an editorial
Has breast cancer touched someone close to you? Get tough this October and wear your heart on your head.
Over to You
Sources & Credits
American Cancer Society: What are the key statistics about breast cancer?
American Cancer Society: What are the risk factors for breast cancer?
American Cancer Society: Non-Cancerous Breast Conditions
American Cancer Society: Breast Cancer
American Cancer Society: American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection in women without breast symptoms
American Cancer Society: Can breast cancer be found early?
American Cancer Society: Breast Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
American Cancer Society: Signs and symptoms of breast cancer
As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd’s goal is to find the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.