Breast cancer in men: Everything you need to know

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and although the disease is less common for men, it’s still something that we should know about and have on our radars.

Number of Men Affected

According to the American Cancer Society, about 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2018. (That’s in comparison to the 266,120 estimated new cases of breast cancer for American women this year). Amongst those new cases, an estimated 480 men will die due to breast cancer this year.

Possible Symptoms

The American Cancer Society includes everything from a lump or swelling, to the puckering of one’s skin, nipple retraction, nipple discharge, and redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin as possible symptoms for breast cancer in men. They also warn that sometimes breast cancer can cause a lump or swelling under your arm or around your collar bone, signaling it has spread to your lymph nodes.

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Celebs who have had or are battling breast cancer

Olivia Newton-John 

(Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Robin Roberts

(Photo by Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Giuliana Rancic

(Photo by Charles Norfleet/FilmMagic)

Suzanne Somers

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Gloria Steinem  

(Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for AOL)

Sheryl Crow

(Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Cynthia Nixon

Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

Wanda Sykes

(Photo by Tara Ziemba/Getty Images)

Kylie Minogue 

(Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Hoda Kotb is seen on the set of the Today Show on September 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)

Carly Simon

(Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Dame Maggie Smith 

(Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)

Christina Applegate 

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Shannen Doherty

(Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Janice Dickinson

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Rita Wilson

(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

Edie Falco 

(Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)

 Sandra Lee

 (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Kathy Bates

(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

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Early Detection

A noticeable size difference of one’s breast is the obvious change that men should look out for when attempting to detect breast cancer early. But even then, it can be a bit tricky for a man to detect himself. “Because men have very little breast tissue, it is easier for men and their health care professionals to feel small masses (tumors). On the other hand, because men have so little breast tissue, cancers do not need to grow very far to reach the nipple, the skin covering the breast, or the muscles underneath the breast,” the American Cancer Society wrote on its website. “So, even though breast cancers in men tend to be slightly smaller than in women when they are first found, more often have already spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes. The extent of spread is one of the most important factors in the prognosis (outcome) of a breast cancer.”

RELATED: Things in your home thought to cause cancer

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Things in your home that can cause cancer
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Things in your home that can cause cancer

Your big, comfy couch

Your favorite sofa could be killing you, and not just because it lures you away from activity: Many sofas, mattresses, and other cushioned furniture are treated with TDCIPP, a flame retardant known to cause cancer (i.e., a carcinogen). TDCIPP was used so frequently prior to 2013 that a study out of Duke University found it in the blood of everyone they tested. It's also one of ten chemicals most frequently found in household dust, according to this study.

What can you do?

Consider replacing cushioned furniture you purchased prior to 2013, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council—and check furniture labels on any purchases.

And while you're at it, make sure you aren't around any of these other causes of cancer.

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Your curtains and carpets

Cadmium is a carcinogenic byproduct of cigarette smoke. If you smoke in your house, cadmium and other cigarette smoke by-products may be lurking, especially on soft surfaces such as curtains and carpet—even long after the smell of smoke is gone. There's even such a thing as third-hand smoke and it's resistant to even the strongest cleaning products. Here's where you can learn more about third-hand smoke and its dangers.

What can you do?

Quit smoking—here are 23 tips to kick start kicking the habit—and never allow smoking in your home.

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Your leather recliner

Chromium (VI) is a known carcinogen found in tanned leather, wood furniture, certain dyes and pigments used in textiles, and cement. To give you an idea of the prevalence of chromium VI, one study out of Denmark found that almost half of imported leather shoes and sandals contained some level of the carcinogen.

What can you do?

As with TCIPP, pay attention to labeling. And don't be shy about asking questions of your furniture salesperson.

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Your garden

Dioxin is a carcinogen that forms as a chemical byproduct and ends up in our soil and water. It's in the dust on shelves, the dirt on floors, and the residue on vegetables. Your risk of cancer from dioxin exposure may be greater than one in one-thousand, says clean-living guru, Sophia Ryann Gushée.

What can you do?

Wear gloves when working in the garden, and always wash up before heading inside. Additionally, avoid backyard burning of household trash.

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Your old fridge

According to cancer.org, carcinogenic PCBs can turn up in old appliances, fluorescent lighting fixtures, and electrical transformers. While no longer commercially produced in the United States, PCBs are still manufactured and used in developing countries, and of all PCBs ever produced, up to 70 percent are still in the environment. Diet is another major source of exposure, according to Gushée.

What can you do?

Get rid of those old appliances and fluorescent light fixtures. Pay attention to advisories regarding PCB-contaminated fish and fish-eating wildlife.

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Your cleaning products

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen found at home in food, cosmetics, a variety of cleaning products (such as dishwashing liquids, fabric softeners, and carpet cleaners), paint, foam insulation, and on permanent press fabrics. In addition, you can be exposed by breathing smoke from gas cookers and open fireplaces.

What can you do?

Here is a list of household products that contain formaldehyde, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Choose your cleaning products carefully—here are some chemical-free ways to clean your home. Also, be sure to ventilate your cooking areas.

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Your closets

The dry-cleaning chemical perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethylene or "perc") is a carcinogen that can build up wherever you store your dry-cleaned clothes. It's also found in spot removers, shoe polish, and wood cleaners.

What can you do?

Wear gloves when polishing your shoes and cleaning wood. If you dry-clean your clothing, try to find a dry-cleaner who doesn't use perc. And check out the times you can feel free to ignore the dry-clean only label.

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Your vinyl flooring and miniblinds

Phthalates are suspected of causing cancer and may adversely affect human reproduction or development. They're found in vinyl flooring, shower curtains, synthetic leather, miniblinds, wallpaper, and anything made with PVC vinyl. They're also found in food packaged in plastic.

What can you do?

Stay away from products made with PVC vinyl. Look for products that are labeled as phthalate-free. Toss plastic toys made before 2008, according to mindbodygreen.com, and switch to glass and stainless containers and bottles. And reconsider your use of plastic wraps and food containers.

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Your favorite rice and chicken dinner

Everyone knows arsenic is poisonous, but in smaller doses, it's also carcinogenic. Yet you can find it in foods you probably eat regularly—including chicken, rice, and certain fruit juices, as well as in degreasing products, dyes, furniture wax, glues, lubricants, nylon, and paints.

What can you do?

Serve only organic chicken, and follow these rice-related guidelines issued by Consumer Reports. Check the labels on your household products; people following a gluten-free diet may be at particular risk of arsenic exposure.

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Your insulation

Asbestos has been out of favor for decades, thankfully, but you can still find it in the insulation of older homes. As the insulation eventually deteriorates, asbestos fibers become airborne. Since asbestos fibers stick to clothing and shoes, workers exposed to asbestos on the job can also bring asbestos into their homes.

What can you do?

Follow these guidelines to reduce asbestos exposure in your home.

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Your styrofoam cups

Styrene is a known carcinogen widely used in the manufacturing of polystyrene plastics, which can be made into foam and rigid plastic products such as cups, plates, trays, utensils, packaging, and packing peanuts. Styrene may leach into your hot coffee or soup if you're using styrofoam containers. It's also present in cigarette smoke and in all of these home maintenance, automotive, and crafting productsWhat can you do? Avoid using styrofoam to hold hot foods and liquids, and read your product labels carefully. Find out the 12 foods you should never microwave.  

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Your library books

According to the Library of Congress and other government sources, medical supplies, library books, and museum artifacts may all be sterilized or fumigated with ethylene oxide, which is a known carcinogen. What can you do? Mostly a problem for people who work with the chemical, you can minimize exposure by not bringing items into your house that have been exposed to ethylene oxide.

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Your weedkiller

No one likes weeds, but if you decide to decimate them using herbicides such as Roundup, which contains the carcinogen glyphosate, you may be raising your risk for cancer.

What can you do?

Make a practice of carefully reading the labels on your weedkillers. And consider using some of these natural weed killers that don't contain dangerous chemicals.

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Your bug spray

Pantry pests and other creepy crawlies can carry disease. But if you eliminate them using chemical pesticides, you're increasing your risk of cancer. Chemical pesticides include those that you use on your pets, such as flea collars and tick-repellant.

What can you do?

Seek out less-toxic pesticide alternatives—or make your own, like this natural tick repellent that works.

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Your granite counter

Radon is formed naturally from the radioactive decay of uranium in rocks and soil. It raises the risk of lung cancer—especially if you also smoke, says Ashley Sumrall, MD, FACP, a Charlotte-based oncologist. If you live in an area where the amount of uranium and radium in rocks is high, you can be exposed to radon through cracks in your foundation. You can also be exposed to radon if you have a granite countertops.

What can you do?

If you live in an area with high levels of uranium and radium, or if you have granite countertops, consider having your home's radon levels measured. Here's what you need to know about radon testing.

Next, find out the causes of cancer that might surprise you.

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Self-Test

The shower is a great place for men to do a self-breast exam, according to VeryWellHealth.com. With your pecs lathered in soap, the website recommends raising your left arm over your head and placing your left hand on the back of your head, before using your right hand’s index, middle, and ring fingers to check your left breast and nipple for any lumps and swelling or drainage, respectively. Then, switch to your left hand for your right breast. This self-test should be scheduled on the same day as your testicular self-test, as 9,310 new cases of testicular cancer are estimated for 2018, with about 400 of those resulting in death, according to the American Cancer Society.

RELATED: Give back to breast cancer awareness with these products

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BCA: Give back with these products

Aerie Bright Pink Play High Neck Sports Bra, $29.95

Aerie Bright Pink Move High Waisted 7/8 Legging, $44.95

100% of sales will be donated to Bright Pink from September 27, 2018 through October 31, 2018.

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WESTEND WYNDHAM RIDGE PINK, $41.97 (orig. $69.95) 

DiscountGlasses.com, a national online optical retailer, will include all of their pink eyeglasses, sunglasses and reading glasses for a 10% donation from October 1st to October 31st. 

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The Daily Edited personalized accessories 

For each phone case sold, $20 will be donated, for each pouch sold, $30 will be donated and for each bag sold, $40 will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Association.

Athleta A-C Everyday Bra, $54

Any Athleta bra purchased from October 2 to October 15 will be matched in donation of an Empower Bra (up to 2,500) to UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center for post-mastectomy women who are looking to incorporate activity in their recovery.

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C’est Moi Beauty Luminary Lip Crayon, $9.99

The EWG-verified beauty brand C’est Moi is donating 20% of the October proceeds from all their lip products to the American Cancer Society.

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Kendra Scott necklace

For the month of October, Kendra Scott is launching a 'giveback suite' of products (10/1-10/31), which includes candles, charms, and pieces of jewelry, which give 20% of proceeds back to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF)

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Manduka project:om equa® hot yoga mat - all the flowers by david allen, $150

Manduka launched a limited edition Yogitoes towel and eQua mat, which David Allen, mastectomy tattoo artist, has designed in his signature floral motif, similar to the floral tattoos he creates to cover mastectomy scars. A portion of the proceeds will go to Susan G. Komen to support breast cancer research.

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Amazing Cosmetics SMOOTH Blender, $14

To help celebrate, AmazingCosmetics will be donating 15% of all sales from each purchase of their newly launched SMOOTH Blender to Chicago based charity the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation

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Pax Philomena Elephant Scarf, $33

15% of each purchase is donated to Young Survival Coalition for breast cancer research. 

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Mignonne Gavigan Sasha Earrings in Mauve,  $275

30% of net proceeds of these gorgeous earrings will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation this October. 

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BELLA SCHNEIDER BEAUTY DETOXIFYING & REJUVENATING SELF-HEATING MASK, $58

Bella Schneider Beauty is donating 20% of the October proceeds from their Detoxifying & Rejuvenating Self-Heating Mask with Cranberry, Grapeseed Oil & Linoleic Acid to the American Cancer Society

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Jemma Sands MUSTIQUE rose quartz earrings, $125

This October, Jemma Sands will donate 100% of proceeds from select products (including these earrings) to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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 Ora Delphine Adele Satchel, $425

75% of sales from the Adele Satchel in Coral will be donated to Susan G. Komen.

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ALEX AND ANI’s Pink Tulips Charm Bangle, $38

ALEX AND ANI’s Pink Tulips Charm Bangle ($38) symbolizes care in good times and bad, while brightening the spirit in others with its rosy hue and hopeful aroma. The charm bangle benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s mission to fund the world’s most promising research to eradicate breast cancer. Twenty percent of the purchase price of each bracelet will be donated directly to the BCRF through ALEX AND ANI’s CHARITY BY DESIGN program.

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Krochet Kids Rosie headband, $28

Krochet Kids is partnering with The Breast Cancer Charities of Americain donating a beanie for every purchase made for the duration of October. The BCCA will take these donates beanies and distribute them to individuals battling breast cancer in hospitals across the US.

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Venus ET Fleur Lé Mini Pink Round Arrangement, $39

20% of sales from this arrangement are being donated to City of Hope.

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GHD Lulu Gold Styler, $199

$5 from every purchase will be donated to the Ulta Beauty Charitable Foundation to support BCRF.

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Naked Cashmere LOVE scarf, $165

Naked Cashmere has extended, and expanded, its charity partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) with the rollout of its new seasonal LOVE collection. The brand will donate $50 for every purchase of its special LOVE scarf, rendered in 100% cashmere with “LOVE” embroidered on it, in three colors: antique pink, chalk and nude ($165). Naked Cashmere will concurrently donate $25 for each purchase of its newly launched items, also in 100% cashmere: Puff LOVE slippers ($95), LOVE gloves ($85), and LOVE pom-pom beanie ($95). 

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Lulu DK Survivor and Strength Flip Collection, $68-$78

20% of sales from the Survivor and Strength Flip Collections goes to breast cancer research funding through the BCRF Foundation 

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APL Techloom Bliss running shoe in power pink, $200

The limited-edition style is available for men and women and features a BCA Satin Ribbon as a pull tab. 20% of the gross sales for each pair sold within the next year will be donated to the Women’s Cancer Research Fund.

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Lane Bryant Awareness Stud Earrings 3-pack, $14.95

10% of proceeds (up to $200,000) will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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S'well Bikini Pink with Silver Cap, $35

S'well has been a partner of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® since 2015, and to date has funded over 700+ hours of research. This October, S’well is donating 20% of the retail price of Bikini PinkPink Topaz and Geode Rose to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. BCRF’s mission is to advance the world’s most promising research to eradicate breast cancer.

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Brahmin LANE BCA COLLECTION, $245

Available during the month of October, 10% of proceeds online will benefit NBCF, and in-store customers can donate $5 to receive 20% off their purchase.

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AZAZIE BONNIE Bridesmaid Dress, $119

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Azazie is partnering with NBCF for the entire month of October to donate 10% from sales of its bridesmaid dresses in three colors: Blushing Pink, Pearl Pink, and Candy Pink. 

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Stone and Strand limited edition ombre pink sapphire band, $325

20% of sales during the entire month of October will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Jack Rogers Pink Jacks Flat Sandal, $148

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now through October 31st, Jack Rogers will donate a percentage sales of the exclusive sandals to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Zaman RISE & SHINE SERUM, $65

Zaman Skincare is donating 30% of the October proceeds from their luxury face serums to the American Cancer Society in search for the cure.

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Ralph Lauren 'Live Love' graphic tee, $68

100% of the purchase price for the new pink “Live Love” graphic tee, and 25% of the purchase price from the sale of every other item in the collection will be donated to the Pink Pony Fund of The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation and to an international network of cancer charities.

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Barefoot Blonde Rose Gold Fill-Ins, $59.99

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Barefoot Blonde Hair founder Amber Fillerup, will be releasing a limited edition collection of the Fill-Ins in Rose Gold, with all proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. 

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David Yurman Pink Pearl Diamond limited edition Solari bracelet, $595

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, David Yurman is donating twenty percent of the proceeds from the Solari bracelet to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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The Bouqs Company bouquets, $42-$84

The Bouqs Company is partnering with The Pink Agenda to donate 20% of the purchase price from a special collection of pink Bouqs to support breast cancer research. 

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EF Collection Pink Sapphire Pendant

With the launch of the pink pendant for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, EF Collection will donate 20% of sales to Susan G. Komen for the month of October.

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dressbarn LUXE BY CARMEN MARC VALVO FLORAL SQUARE NECK DRESS, $69.95

dressbarn has again collaborated with Carmen Marc Valvo for a third consecutive year on a special edition collection for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). They will be donating 50% of the purchase price of each product up to $50,000 and customers can also make a donation of $1 or more in all dressbarn stores. 

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C.O. Bigelow Freesia Candle, $42

One of the brand’s most popular perfume oils provided inspiration for this soft floral scent featuring a heart of Tart Quince, Jasmine, Pink Freesia and Tender Muguet. All year long, C.O. Bigelow Donates 10% of all sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Privé Revaux The Escobar, $29.95

50% of proceeds from pink sunglasses The EscoberCandyThe ArtistThe Georgian, will benefit Susan G. Komen during the month of October.

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Saucony Unity Kinvara 9, $120

Saucony has partnered with the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation to create a limited edition Unity Kinvara 9, of which 20% of each sale will be donated to help fund Dr. Susan Love's pioneering research into the causes and treatment of breast cancer.

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Yummie Scoop Neck Bra, $17

For the month of October, Yummie will be giving 5% of net proceeds from bra sales to breast cancer research. 

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Johnny Was BED OF ROSES SCARF, $98

Johnny Was will be donating 100% of the proceeds for their silk scarves to Susan G Komen during the month of October.

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Gorjana Power Gemstone Pink Jade Studs, $38

On October 3rd, gorjana will be donating 20% of proceeds from the entire day (across all 8 stores and ecomm) to Susan G. Komen

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Meshki HOPE CROP TOP, $32.07

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Meshki, the Australian-based line, has designed two exclusive styles with the positive messages of empowerment and hope that will be available for sale on Meshki's website from Oct 17th, with 100% of the profits going towards two very special charities; One Girl & National Breast Cancer Association.

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Lulu Dharma Velvet Vintage Weekender Bag, $99

30% of sales from select items will be donated to Dr. Susan Love Foundation.

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Koral Lustrous Capri Legging, $75

LA based apparel brand Koral has partnered with Keep-A-Breast & will be donating 25% of the proceeds from their Lustrous Capri Legging (in the Carmine colorway), Advanced Bra (in the Carmine colorway), and Villa Tencel Jersey Tank (in the White colorway) to the organization throughout the entire month of October. 

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Skylar perfume, $78

For every bottle purchased, Skylar will be donating $10 to breast cancer research. 

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The Last Line Ruby Diamond Earring, $1,295

The Last Line is donating 15 percent of proceeds from select styles to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation during the month of October!

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Catherines No-Wire Cotton Comfort Bra in Powerful Pink ($33) and matching boyshorts ($11)

10% of proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Manic Panic JEM Amplified Hair Color in Pink, $10

This October, 100% of the proceeds of MANIC PANIC’s JEM Amplified Hair Color in Pink for the month of October will be donated to CANCERLAND, a media platform focused on changing the conversation about breast cancer through the honest voices of real individuals living with the disease.

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Like A Virgin Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque, $44.90

During the month of October, Coco & Eve is donating 20% of profits to CoppaFeel, helping to educate society on breast cancer, and empowering people to begin healthy habits for life.

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Sticky Be Socks "Be Brave" Breast Cancer Awareness Socks, $15

A portion of October sales on all “Be Brave” sock purchases will be donated to a BCA foundation helping people of all genders who are impacted by breast cancer.

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Magnolia and Vine Breast Cancer Awareness Set, $29.99

10% of sales from the Breast Cancer Awareness Set will be donated to the Young Survivor Coalition.

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Lilly Pulitzer Alden Dress, $158

Lilly Pulitzer is teaming up with Bright Pink to save women's lives from breast and ovarian cancer.

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Athleta Empower Bra, $54

Made for "athletes powering through breast cancer recovery," any bra purchased up until October 15 will be matched in donation of an Empower Bra to UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center for post-mastectomy women who are looking to incorporate activity in their recovery.

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Fite blush crew neck, $120

The tee is available for preorder now and the company is donating 20% of pre-order sales through November 8th to Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, a San Francisco-based charity

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Beyond Proper BREAST CANCER WOMEN'S TEE, $24.50

During the month of October, 95% of proceeds from the sale of Beyond Proper’s Beyond Strong Tee will go to The Donna Foundation. In addition to financially supporting those living with breast cancer, DF also funds ground-breaking research working in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic.  

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Bella Dahl Slouchy Sweater, $119

Bella Dahl has partnered with The Pink Fund for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and will donate a portion of the proceeds from the Blush Slouchy Sweater. 

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Nalho Ganika Velvet Light in Pink, $52

Nalho will donate 50 percent of proceeds to BCAA for the Ganika Velvet shoes in light pink. 

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Nirvana Designs Rutland Beanie, $50

Nirvana Designs is donating 15 percent of all their pink items to their Susan G. Komen Foundation. 

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