With thousands of breast cancer charities competing for donations, it can be difficult to know which one will make the greatest impact.

Many charities and organizations focus on research, support, and education, while others provide direct assistance and medical treatment for those who find it difficult to afford.

Regardless of a person's priorities, they must consider how effectively the charity will put the donation tao use for the benefit of people with breast cancer.

In this article, we outline the top breast cancer charities in the United States and their specific contributions, plus other factors to consider before donating.

Here are some well-known breast cancer charities in the U.S., organized by how they contribute to the cause.

Breast cancer research

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Choosing the right charity can help a donation achieve the greatest impact for those with breast cancer.

Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Unlike many other breast cancer charities, the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation almost exclusively fund research exploring the causes of the condition.

They also run long term studies to better understand the physical and emotional impact of breast cancer treatments.

Charity Navigator, an objective rating system for charities, estimates that 81.7% of the foundation's total funds go directly into programs and services.

California Breast Cancer Research Program

The California Breast Cancer Research Program devote their time to breast cancer research and education. The program's funding is relatively stable, receiving 45% of its revenue from California's tobacco tax.

This stable revenue allows the organization to establish long term projects that explore critical breast cancer topics.

Since 1994, the California Breast Cancer Research Program have donated $280 million to research institutions in the state, and 88.1% of the total funds go directly toward research and education programs and services.

National Breast Cancer Coalition

This is one of the largest and most influential breast cancer charities in the U.S. The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) started in 1991.

The NBCC's mission is to figure out how to end breast cancer by 2020. The charity comprises activists, survivors, researchers, lobbyists, and policymakers.

The NBCC have over 60,000 members and have successfully advocated for more than $3 billion in federal research funding.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Evelyn H. Lauder started the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1991. According to Charity Navigator, they spend 88.1% of their expenses directly on programs and services.

Their Founder Fund is the largest private project worldwide. It focuses on better understanding the biology behind metastasis, during which cancer spreads to different tissues or organs.

Breast cancer education and screening

National Breast Cancer Foundation

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) focus on providing early detection, support, and education. They offer free mammograms to people across the U.S.

The charity allocate around 80.8% of their total funds directly to programs and services.

Breastcancer.org

Breastcancer.org offer extensive educational content focused on breast cancer treatment and prevention. They started providing these services in 2002.

They also help connect people who have or who have had breast cancer, creating a sense of community and providing support networks for people who need them.

They say that every dollar raised helps three women access the information they need to make sound medical decisions. Breastcancer.org have helped over 131 million people worldwide, with about 79.6% of total funds directly fueling programs and services.

Helping young people

Young Survival Coalition

The Young Survival Coalition (YSC) have been helping people aged 40 and under with breast cancer since 1998.

Every year, an estimated 70,000 people aged 15–39 years receive a cancer diagnosis in the U.S. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer that develops in women between these ages.

The Coalition's three founders all discovered that they had breast cancer before reaching the age of 35.

About 77.8% of their money funds programs and services.

Financial assistance for people with breast cancer

The Pink Fund

The Pink Fund provide financial assistance for people receiving active treatment for breast cancer.

Typically, they provide enough money to cover 90 days of nonmedical living expenses, such as home, utility, and vehicle payments.

The Pink Fund's financials are available online. Their most recent audit from 2018 reveals that they spent $933,132 on providing services for people with breast cancer.

The Breast Cancer Charities of America

Through their Help Now program, the Breast Cancer Charities of America (BCCA) offer financial aid for people currently receiving treatment for breast cancer.

Grants are typically up to $1,000 per person. The BCCA intend for these grants to cover housing and utility payments. They also partner with corporate sponsors to donate medicine and equipment to hospitals and clinics in developing countries.

According to their 2018 financial records, the BCCA spent $5,700,028 on programs and services, making up an estimated 78% of their total funding.

Activist organizations

Breast Cancer Action

Founded in 1990, Breast Cancer Action are committed to achieving health justice for all those at risk of, or living with, breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Action are the watchdog organization in the breast cancer world, tackling issues such as environmental exposures that increase cancer risk, health inequities, and policies that impact women's health.

Breast Cancer Action also provide educational materials, such as in their "Think Before You Pink" campaign.

For the past 15 years, the campaign has called for transparency and accountability in breast cancer fundraising and marketing. It also encourages people to ask a series of questions before they donate to an organization or purchase items with pink ribbons.

Community support programs

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Founded in 1991, Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) provide trustworthy educational materials and focus on connecting people with breast cancer with survivors of the condition.

An estimated 83.4% of their total funds go directly toward programs and services.

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The pink ribbon initially started circulating to increase public awareness of a shortfall in breast cancer funding.

Many companies sell products containing the now iconic emblem of a pink ribbon, pledging to donate the proceeds to a breast cancer charity.

Breast cancer activist and survivor Charlotte Hayley inspired the design of the pink ribbon, which is still in use today.

Hayley initially made peach ribbons herself and gave them out with a card stating: "The National Cancer Institute's annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5% goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon."

These ribbons did not become famous until 1992, when Estee Lauder cosmetic counters changed their color to pink and gave them out across the nation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which takes place in October every year.

In 1993, Avon released a $2 enamel and gold-cast pink ribbon broach. In its first 2 years, the pin raised $10 million, encouraging many other companies and charities to create pink ribbon products.

Since then, countless organizations have used the pink ribbon in their fundraising efforts.

However, some companies exploit the pink ribbon for corporate profit, with very little money from a product marked with a pink ribbon actually going toward breast cancer research or prevention.

In addition, some companies use the pink ribbon for corporate profit even though their policies or products actually increase the risk of breast cancer.

Regardless, the pink ribbon has come to symbolize the world's effort to overcome breast cancer.

The easiest way to be sure that all donations go directly to a breast cancer charity is to give directly to the organization. Donating in person, by mail, or online is also the only way to receive a tax credit for the donation.

With pink ribbon products, the portion of the proceeds that goes directly to breast cancer charities varies. Some companies have faced criticism for using the pink ribbon as a marketing tool while donating very little to the cause itself.

Breast Cancer Action's "Think Before You Pink" campaign recommends asking several important questions before purchasing pink ribbon products.

Questions to ask before buying pink include:

How much, if any, of the product's proceeds go to a breast cancer charity?

  • Which organization gets the money?
  • Does the organization receiving the proceeds run programs or sponsor research that will help overcome breast cancer?
  • Does the company selling the pink ribbon product also support, sell, or manufacture products tied to breast cancer, such as cosmetics containing carcinogenic chemicals?
  • Is there a maximum amount that the company have set on their donations to breast cancer charities? Will they notify customers upon reaching this amount?

Bearing these questions in mind will help a person make the most effective decision when buying pink to support a breast cancer charity.

Q:

Are there breast cancer charities with a focus on men who have the cancer?

A:

Breast cancer in men is very rare. However, men do receive diagnoses of breast cancer. There are some organizations, such as HIS Breast Cancer and Male Breast Cancer Coalition, that provide support and resources specifically related to male breast cancer.

Yamini Ranchod, PhD, MS Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.