Jeremy Ross may be a male, but breast cancer is still an issue
that remains important to him. Ross, a junior English major, lost
his stepmother to the disease almost two years ago.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and according
to the American Cancer Society’s Web site, www.cancer.org, about
39,600 women die each year from breast cancer.
“My stepmom was originally diagnosed with breast cancer five
years ago,” Ross said. “She started by receiving chemotherapy
treatment, but was diagnosed too late and the chemotherapy didn’t
have the results the doctors expected.”
Ross’ stepmother discontinued chemotherapy treatment 18 months
after she was initially diagnosed and passed away after she had
fought breast cancer for a total of three and a half years.
“Chemotherapy took such a toll on her health, so the results of
not doing it initially seemed better until she passed away,” Ross
Sophomore Courtney Reitz knows two women who have had breast
cancer and survived.
“My aunt had breast cancer a little over 10 years ago, and she
had to have her entire breast removed,” said Reitz, an accounting
major. “She lost all of her hair and had to wear a wig. But it was
a really fortunate story because they caught (the cancer) before it
had metastasized (spread).”
Reitz is also good friends with a woman who battled breast
cancer nearly 20 years ago while raising two children as a single
mother. She had to have her entire breast removed.
“It was a big struggle for her to care for her two children,”
Reitz’s aunt is now in remission and has not had any more
problems with cancer. Both survivors eventually had implants put in
where their removed breast tissue had been.
While their personal experiences with breast cancer may differ,
both Ross and Reitz agree that it is important for people to be
educated about and understand breast cancer.
“My aunt and friend survived the disease decades ago, so people
should be going and getting their exams now because it is so easily
preventable,” Reitz said.
If detected early enough, nearly all breast cancer cases can be
treated effectively before the cancer spreads to the lymph
In order to successfully detect and treat breast cancer, the
American Cancer Society recommends women begin having annual
screening mammograms when they turn 40. This recommendation may
vary based on an individual’s personal risk factors.
Each woman’s risk can be individually determined, said Deb
Morris, a health educator Hartshorn Health Service.
According to www.breastcancer.org, a woman is diagnosed with
breast cancer every three minutes in the United States.
Numerous organizations, such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer
Foundation, are dedicated to eradicating breast cancer. But until a
cure is discovered, prevention and education remain key factors in
the fight against breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society also states that all women older
than age 20 should perform monthly breast self-examinations.
“A female should begin to know her breast tissue (at
pubescence), so that she will be able to detect a change,” Morris
If people have other questions about
breast cancer or need specific clinical help, they can contact the
Women’s Clinic at 491-1754.
The American Cancer Society
recommends the following guidelines for finding breast cancer
* Women age 40 and older should have
a mammogram every year.
* Between the ages of 20 and 39,
women should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) by a health
professional every 3 years. After age 40, women should have a CBE
every year. The CBE should take place before their mammogram so
that any abnormality detected can be evaluated more carefully.
* All women older than 20 should do
(BSE) every month.
* Women who have a family history of
breast cancer should talk to
their doctor about when to start