Think Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

October is breast cancer awareness month. This past year, two scares in my family have made me aware of how crucial it is to get yearly mammograms, and to do monthly breast self examinations. A year ago this month, with my very first mammogram at the recommended age of 40, the x-ray revealed a lump in my breast. The subsequent biopsy showed that it was a benign lump, called a fibroadenoma, and was not cancerous. Two months later, however, my mother's yearly mammogram revealed a lump that turned out to be cancerous. Thankfully, they caught it in the very early stages, removed it, and with follow-up radiation treatments, she was declared cancer-free.

During October, many retailers and manufacturers donate money to breast cancer research, either through direct donations, or through the sale of special products from which part or all of the proceeds go towards breast cancer research. From Kitchen Aid mixers, to Papermate ball point pens, to lingerie and t-shirts, there are a variety of pink products to choose from. Many cosmetic companies offer special versions of their most popular products in October, in pink shades or special pink packaging, with proceeds going towards breast cancer research. Here is just a small sampling of the countless special cosmetic offerings for Breast Cancer Awareness month:

Philosophy offers a special version of their popular three-in-one shower gel. Shower for the Cure ($20.00) is a shower gel, bubble bath and shampoo in a special bottle adorned with the breast cancer pink ribbon logo. 100% of the Philosophy net proceeds from the Shower for the Cure is donated to the Women's Cancer Research Fund.

Estee Lauder'sPink Ribbon Collection 2007 features five products in special pink packaging. Estee Lauder offers a special Jeweled Pink Ribbon Compact and Brush Set. The compact is adorned with a pink rhinestone ribbon and contains Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer, with a retractable brush for flawless application. The Jeweled Pink Ribbon Pin is a simple way to show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness. For lips, Estee Lauder has developed three special shades of pink. Pure Color Crystal Gloss is available in Evelyn Pink, while Pure Color Crystal Lipstick comes in Elizabeth Pink, and High Gloss lip gloss is available in Pink Ribbon Pink. The purchase of any Estee Lauder Pink Ribbon Collection product will help Estee Lauder in North America donate $500,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. But the Pink Ribbon Collection 2007 is almost completely sold out online, so check your local department store (soon!) if you want to get these items.

If you're unable to obtain these special Estee Lauder pink lip colors, there is another way to spread pink kisses in October. Hershey's Kisses offers special chocolate kisses in pink foil for Breast Cancer Awareness. Hershey's Pledge is the chocolate manufacturer's way of donating $300,000 to breast cancer research. You can go online to donate to the cause.

Fight unruly brows while fighting breast cancer. Tweezerman, the tweezer of choice among makeup artists and beauty pundits, has created a special pink petite tweezer case in support of breast cancer awareness. A pink ribbon emblazons the leather case, which contains smaller sizes of the Tweezerman trademarked Slant (TM) and Point (TM) tweezers. It's available for $25 at drugstore.com.

And for information on breast cancer, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. For instructions on performing breast self examinations, visit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure website. Their Promise Shop sells a wide range of breast cancer awareness merchandise, including Keep the Promise Rings and pink Cure (TM) The Bear Beanie Babies, and you can order a free BSE (Breast Self Examination) shower card, for quick and easy referral when performing a breast self examination.

Please, I urge everyone to be diligent about doing monthly breast self examinations and getting yearly mammograms. Share this information with your mothers, daughters, sisters, and girlfriends. Early detection is the key to beating breast cancer.

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