Around one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life. That's a huge number, making it the most common type of cancer in the UK. Men can also get it, although it's not very common. Women aged over 50 are most susceptible to the disease, and it's crucial they have the support in place when they're given such difficult news.
WHY VOLUNTEER WITH A BREAST CANCER CHARITY?
According to Breast Cancer Care, In the UK, one person is diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes. By 2020, it's estimated there will be 840,000 people who are alive after a breast cancer diagnosis. As with any form of cancer, anxiety and depression are common both during and after treatment.
There are plenty of breast cancer charities in the UK which volunteers can get involved with. Doing so is a wonderful way to help out in what is a huge operation to treat and care for people diagnosed with this form of cancer. As well as the sense of reward you'll get, volunteering is a great way to develop skills or kickstart a career in the charity sector.
HOW TO HELP BREAST CANCER CHARITIES
SPEND TIME WITH CURRENT AND FORMER CANCER PATIENTS
Some people are very lucky in that they are surrounded by family and friends when they get a cancer diagnosis. Others aren't so fortunate. Having some company is invaluable at this time, and you can make a real difference in people's lives by simply spending time with patients. You might find a breast cancer charity where you can visit people while they're undergoing treatment in hospital, or help them out around their home. The same goes for people who've been given the all-clear and are in need of support as they begin to move forward with their lives.
HELP PROVIDE INFORMATION
Charities such as Breast Cancer Care are devoted to providing support to people across the UK. You can help to distribute information such as leaflets on breast cancer and breast health to hospitals, which go hand in hand with the resources provided by nursing teams. Keeping these resources fully stocked means they're available to as many people as possible.
VOLUNTEER AT A CHARITY SHOP
Some of the UK's biggest cancer charities run shops, which play a vital role in raising funds. Whether it's a couple of hours a week or more, you can help with things like organising stock and serving customers. You might even find you really enjoy the social aspect of helping out here, too.
PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR CARERS
Whether it's breast cancer or an ovarian cancer charity, organisations such as Carers Trust provide an incredible support network for those who look after people affected by cancer. There are lots of unpaid carers who need support to fulfil their roles and live their own lives too. You can help in a number of ways, including home visits, fundraising, assisting on outings and at events.
VOLUNTEER WITH CAMPAIGNS AND EVENTS
From campaigns focused around delivering the same level of care to both primary and secondary patients, to raising awareness at organised events, there's lots you can get involved with. Or, if you have skills suited to administration, computing or social media, you could volunteer at a charity office instead.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VOLUNTEER
Even if you don't have a lot of time to spare week-to-week, you can still make a big contribution. Different volunteering roles require different time commitments, so there's always something you can do.
If you're interested in a role whereby you spend time with breast cancer patients, you'll need some training beforehand. As well as being given guidance on appropriate things to say, you'll also receive advice on how to cope with distressing and upsetting situations, for your own wellbeing.
WHERE TO GET STARTED
There are lots of wonderful charities that play a part in helping people with breast cancer receive the best possible care. To find a volunteering opportunity that's going to be suitable, you could start by taking a look at these organisations:
We're incredibly proud that People's Postcode Lottery players have raised over £13 Million for these three charities alone.