Join the fight and think pink this October for breast cancer awareness month. It is a time for grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and family to remember loved ones lost and celebrate survivors who have won the battle.
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women besides skin cancers. Approximately 211,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are anticipated to be revealed in American women in 2009. That is one woman diagnosed every three minutes and one life lost every 13 minutes.
“There probably isn’t anybody who isn’t touched by breast cancer in some way,” said Betty Brown, counselor and testing coordinator in the Career and Counseling Center.
Invasive breast cancer, one of the most harmful forms of cancer, begins with abnormal cells inside the breast ducts that spread toward the outer tissues of the breast, eventually spreading to the lymph nodes and other vital organs such as the liver, lungs and bones.
Although men can become victims of breast cancer as well, women are at a much higher risk. Some of the prime risk factors are just being female and getting older every day, but there are several warning signs and preventative actions women can take to protect themselves.
The first step in the fight against breast cancer is to have a general understanding of the factors that may increase the risk. Preventative actions include living a healthy lifestyle, visiting the doctor for regular screening and self-examination. A staggering 70 percent of all varieties of breast cancers are discovered through self-examinations.
Although one in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during a woman’s lifetime, new technology and modern screening tests can detect signs of breast cancer while it is still in the earliest stages and most treatable.
With communities across the nation reaching out, devoting and donating, the strong financial support provides more funds for research and is leading us closer to a cure every year. Many people reach out by purchasing pink products that benefit breast cancer foundations or by joining the fight by walking in a breast cancer walk.
The Houston Affiliate of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure foundation ranks number one in the entire U.S. This year alone, the Houston chapter has donated more than $3 million for community education, screening and treatment grants in the community. Each year, the UHCL Sisterhood joins the fight by participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
“This year we had 27 team members from the Sisterhood participating in the Komen walk,” said Julie Smith, coordinator of women’s and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) services. “We have raised $2,263 for breast cancer research so far this year, which is well past our $1,000 goal.”
At UHCL there have been many staff and faculty members who have battled breast cancer. Every October the Career and Counseling Center at UHCL features a booth in the Student Center to reach out and spread awareness. The booth has also developed an annual tradition to display hearts that signify fighters and survivors of breast cancer. Anyone whose life has been touched by breast cancer can write the name of a family member or loved one on a paper heart and post it on the display to signify their memory.
“Every year since 1995 we have done a breast cancer awareness display where people on campus can write names on hearts in memory of loved ones who have gone through breast cancer,” Brown said. “We have actually saved the hearts from previous years, we didn’t want to discard people’s precious memories of their loved ones.”
To honor breast cancer awareness on campus, Oct. 22 is Think Pink Day.
“We ask that everyone who comes to campus that day to wear pink in honor of breast cancer,” Smith said.