Breasts, ta-tas, titties, lovely lady lumps, breasticles, fun bags, jugs, rack, Ma Ladies, the Golden Girls, melons, honkers, headlights, hooters, Double Trouble, chi-chis, ladies, the girls, bosom, carumbas, knockers, hush puppies, hoohas, sweater stretchers, bouncy pillows, footballs, lung protectors, frost detectors, Gerber servers, traffic stoppers, Double Whoppers, bangers…
October. This is the month of pink. A whole month dedicated to celebrating your boobies (or whatever creative euphemism you choose to refer to them by).
With one in eight women developing invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, breast cancer has been deemed the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women and the second leading cause of death within the gender. According to www.nationalbreastcancer.org, an expected 39,620 women will lose their battle with the disease in 2013. Although it’s not as common, breast cancer does affect men as well as women, with around 2,150 men being diagnosed a year and a little over 400 of them dying.
Death rates for breast cancer have been steadily decreasing since around 1990 thanks in part to a rise in screening and early detection and increased awareness about the disease, as well as treatment options that continue to improve. One organization that strives to promote awareness about breast cancer as well as aid women facing it is the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It was founded in 1991 by breast cancer survivor Janelle Hail. The NBCF’s mission is to educate women about breast cancer, informing them about early detection, diagnosis, stages, and treatment, and also provides programs for women living with or fighting the disease. The organization also provides free mammograms to women in need as part of their dedication to early detection.
NBCF’s website offers comprehensive information about breast cancer. They stress that the most effective way to detect breast cancer in its early stages is by getting high-quality mammograms and clinical breast exams regularly. Although those with a family history of breast cancer are more likely to develop it, only about 10 percent of those diagnosed have a family history of the disease. Once the disease is detected, there are five stages (0-4) of its progression determined by the size of the tumor, the number of lymph nodes affected, and whether or not the cancer has metastasized (spread to other body parts).
There are many different types of treatment for breast cancer, but NBCF highlights the importance of understanding the difference between standard treatment and clinical trials. Surgery is the most common form of treatment, whether it’s a lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, radical mastectomy, or reconstruction. There is also chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Good nutrition and regular physical activity are also recommended, as is follow-up care.
For over 25 years, October has been the designated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, dedicated to spreading more knowledge and understanding of breast cancer. Another goal of the annual campaign is to provide greater access to services for early detection. More information and a list of participating organizations can be found at www.nbcam.org. The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s website also has links to their blog as well as information on how you can get involved in helping the campaign against breast cancer. Donations are accepted online or by mail and the option to fundraise can be coordinated through the website. They also welcome all new sponsors and are always looking for volunteers, specifically for their Virtual Volunteer and Outreach Volunteer Programs.
Millersville University has its very own Breast Cancer Awareness Center located on the second floor of the Health Services building. The center was created to raise awareness of breast cancer on campus. It is dedicated to the memory of two women lost their battle with the disease: Diana Lin Durand, sister of retired Professor of Elementary Education, Dennis Denenberg, and Marsha L. Frerichs, wife of Richard Frerichs, retired Professor of Education. The center offers a wide variety of information to students through pamphlets and brochures, a computer system where they can learn about their own personal risks for the disease, diagrams, and even breast models where students can feel for lumps. Kathryn Treaster, graduate assistant, is available Tuesdays through Thursdays if help is needed.
So ladies (AND gents!), use the resources provided on campus to educate yourselves on the risks breast cancer poses and take active steps to protect your girls!