Breast cancer awareness sparks involvement during October

By Katherine Brachelli
October 13, 2006

Shane Evans

Health services has dedicated its resources to breast cancer awareness for the month of October. Breast cancer is a malignant cancerous tumor that starts from cells of the breast, killing over 40,970 women a year. The disease occurs mostly in women, but men can get breast cancer too, according to the American Cancer Society.

Susan Fitzgerald, coordinator of health services, said, “I don’t think students are made aware of this disease. Unless it has affected them or an individual that they know they are not informed about it. Students should try to get involved and do everything they can to learn more about breast cancer.”

Masha Kozlovskay, a freshman whose major is undecided, said, “Breast cancer is not a joke. When my mom’s friend had breast cancer it was hard for my friends and I to deal with. We didn’t know much about it.”

Fitzgerald said that health services planned several activities for students to get involved and to try to raise awareness for breast cancer. The activities include a quiz that is running throughout the month of October, which has questions pertaining to breast cancer. Also, throughout the women’s bathroom stalls in every residence hall, there are shower cards that indicate how to perform a self breast examination and facts about breast cancer.

Brigitte Galen, a freshman psychology major, said, “I couldn’t imagine having breast cancer; it would almost be as if I lost my womanhood. If people look at the pamphlets being given out and follow them to do a self examine maybe they could prevent breast cancer.”

The American Cancer Society has found that the chance of getting breast cancer increases as a woman gets older. Nearly eight out of 10 breast cancers are found in women over the age of 50. Although men can get breast cancer, it is 100 times more common in women. Also, the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer at some point in her is life is one in eight.

Over 200,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during 2006. In many cases breast cancer is a malignant cancerous tumor that starts from cells of the breast, however, there are fibrocystic breast changes that are benign or non-cancerous. Five to ten percent of all breast cancers are considered inherited mutations. A high level of alcohol intake increases the risk of breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Although the risk of breast cancer is small for people of the ages 18 to 22, it is recommended that all women begin performing self breast examination by the age of 20, according to the American Cancer Society.

Fitzgerald said, “Early detection is key. Students should encourage their mothers and grandmothers to go for tests. Students can also read information about breast cancer so they can inform themselves or participate in the walk that is held every year for the fight against breast cancer.”

Tara Powers, a freshman chemistry major, has participated in some of the activities that health services has provided for students, such as reading the pamphlets that are being provided and taking the quiz.

Powers said, “Since I’ve learned more about breast cancer Even guys should participate more in becoming aware of breast cancer. Women know about prostate cancer and stuff, men should share the same knowledge of women, because breast cancer could affect them too.”

Fitzgerald encourages all students to participate in the quiz that health services is sponsoring, so they can learn more about breast cancer. The quizzes are located outside of health services.

Galen said, “It’s great that health services is doing so much to help raise awareness for breast cancer. You always think you’re going to be the one not to get it, but there is always that chance that you could.”

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Katherine Brachelli

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