Find out how to support the cause during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Thursday, October 1, 2015
(Michael Dwyer / AP)
Michael Dwyer / AP

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, where the country rallies behind the nearly 3 million Americans who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. There are a variety of ways to get involved with the cause and raise awareness of the disease, from events to teaching yourself and your loved ones more about the disease.

Here's how you can do your part to support Breast Cancer Awareness in October.

Kevin Wolf / AP

If you know you want to support the cause but aren't sure where to start, ABC News lays out what you should do in its six-step PLEDGE. People who take the PLEDGE are encouraged to learn more about breast cancer and spread their knowledge and awareness to friends and family.

  • PREVENTION: Ask my doctor what steps I can take that could reduce my risk of breast cancer.
  • LEARNING: Arm myself with knowledge about my own risks.
  • EXAMINATION: With my doctor, find out when I should get screened for breast cancer, and how often.
  • DENSITY: Have a conversation with my doctor to see if I have "dense" breasts, and which screening approach is right for me.
  • GENETICS: Discuss with my doctor my family history -- both mom's and dad's side -- of breast cancer, to see what it might mean for my level of risk.
  • EDUCATE Once I've put these steps into action, "pay it forward" by encouraging friends and family to do it as well.

Take the PLEDGE and tell others what inspired you to do it here.

David Zalubowski / AP

Breast cancer can -- and does -- affect your life and the lives of those around you. Strengthen your knowledge of breast cancer and its risk factors with these important facts.

  • Over the course of a lifetime, a woman living in the United States has a 12.3 percent risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer and a 2.7 percent chance of dying from it.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the U.S. (behind lung cancer).
  • People do live through it. After five years, individual chance of survival could be higher than 89 percent.
  • There are 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today -- more people than the population of Chicago.
  • Men can get breast cancer, too, though they make up only about 1 percent of diagnoses in the U.S. Nearly 400 men die of breast cancer each year.
  • When you look at your "family history" of breast cancer, your father's side is as important as your mother's.
  • As little as two and a half hours per week of brisk walking can reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 18 percent.
  • It has been estimated that if every woman over the age of 50 had her yearly mammogram, breast cancer deaths in this age group could drop by 25 percent or more.
  • Women who consume more than three alcoholic beverages per day are 51 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women who do not drink.
  • Breastfeeding not only helps babies, it's been shown to reduce breast cancer -- the more months you breastfeed, the greater the benefit.

Read more facts in this list compiled by the ABC News Medical Unit.

Matt Rourke / AP

Joining an event that seeks to raise funds also raises awareness, as it helps to educate those who you interact with during the fundraising process and on race day. There are events of all sizes all around the country, but here are some of the most well-known (Click on the website for local event details).

AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer

The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

The National Breast Cancer Foundation's full month of events


In addition to donating to organizations devoted to finding a cure like the American Cancer Society, you can shop for the cause, too.

Look for the pink ribbon and you can find everything from to iPhone covers to jewelry to chocolate. There are entire lines, like the Fight Like A Girl brand, dedicated to helping breast cancer research, treatment and/or patients. Be sure to read the fine print, though, as not all pink-ribboned products go directly to the cause. ABC News recommends buying products that give to reputable organizations.

To get you started Good Morning America's Deals and Steals are bringing you these pink-themed products at a special price.

Mary Designs Journals

Amelia Rose jewelry

Cocoagraph organic chocolate tiles

Julep makeup

Lulu Dharma bags (promo code GMA)

Peace Love World tops (promo code GMA, Oct. 1 only)