Awareness Key in Beating Breast Cancer

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Awareness Key in Beating Breast Cancer

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October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and what better way to show support than tie-dying shirts?

Sophomore marketing major Syd Petro organized a CES event Oct. 29 that helped to raise awareness.

Petro lost an aunt to Stage 4 breast cancer and has another aunt that survived – she has been healthy for five years and counting.

“Tie-dying a tee shirt,” said Petro. “Or wearing pink all through October and just showing that, no matter if you had a family member or if you had a personal friend that has passed away or has been affected by breast cancer in any way, you can show that you care.

“And that there is hope for a cure.”

Michelle Beck was the guest speaker at the event. Beck is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Sciences. She has taught at Saint Francis for eight years.

Her presentation addressed breast cancer symptoms, risk factors, tests and prevention.

Brandi Dalious, a freshman business administration major, said she learned that women should have mammograms after turning 40 and that breast cancer is not always hereditary.

“Taking birth control could increase your risk of getting breast cancer,” said Dalious.

Cancer occurs in the body when cells don’t die, but keep dividing and reproducing. Breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer for women.

There are three kinds of breast cancer: lobular, ductal and inflammatory. There are also four different stages of breast cancer that “are defined by the depth of the cancer,” said Beck. “How deep it has gone into the tissue.”

Some of the symptoms of breast cancer include lumps or thickening, changes in size or shape of the breast and any discoloration of the skin.

There are simple tests that can be done to detect breast cancer early enough for it to be treated. These include self-breast examinations and mammograms. Self-breast examinations should be done frequently, preferably every month after one’s period.

One can either trace vertical lines up and down the breast, starting from one side and moving toward the other, or use a circular motion moving from the outside of the breast. Whichever method is used, it is important to feel for unusual, hard bumps.

If someone limits their alcohol intake, stops smoking, exercises and avoids using birth control, their chances of getting breast cancer are greatly reduced.

“I think it is important the student community know that breast cancer can affect anybody,” said Beck. “And that prevention is probably the most important thing to do as far as self-breast exams, mammograms and appropriate treatment early in the disease.”

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