October is a month filled with notably popular events, from Halloween and the state fair to haunted houses and farms. However, it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In order to raise awareness about something as substantial as breast cancer, you must educate your audience as well.
Breast cancer is a sector of cancer where the malignant cells form in the tissues of the breast. While it can affect both men and women, it is severely more dominant in females. According to Dr. Eric Winer, there are 40,000 women in the United States alone who will lose their lives due to breast cancer and almost ten times that internationally. These numbers are drastic and affect families across America, including in our own community. In North Carolina, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for women, as stated by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
The hardships breast cancer can impose on both the patient and their family are tremendous and seen in financial, mental, and physical ways. Although the physical effects are quite obvious, the financial and mental factors are not always seen. Kathryn Schmitz, of breastcancer.org, shared that in regards to the financial struggles of breast cancer, that on average 12 years after being diagnosed, women had between $1,000 and $3,000 of out-of-pocket care costs per year. Not only did their finances take a life-long hit, but also their mental health. Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School found that among those diagnosed with breast cancer, 41% had severe emotional distress, 11% experienced depression, 10% dealt with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and another 10% were found to have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Clearly breast cancer is taking a hefty toll on sisters, wives, mothers, daughters, grandmas, and aunts all around the world. To help show support to the incredibly strong survivors of breast cancer, there are many local events taking place this month that you, your friends, and your family can take part in. On October 19, the American Cancer Society is hosting a, “making strides against breast cancer,” walk in Raleigh. Online resources to help in the fight against breast cancer include https://www.wearitpink.org/about/breast-cancer-awareness-month and https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month. On both of these sites, you can learn more about breast cancer, read survivor stories, donate towards research or find out how to further support those living with breast cancer.
Here at Green Level, students are showing their support in a few different ways. The home football game against Athens Drive last Thursday had a pink out theme in honor of breast cancer awareness. Not only did students wear pink, but the cheer team had pink socks and bows, along with the dance team who had pink pom poms. A couple students decided to paint our spirit rock pink and cover it with names of women in our own community who have breast cancer or have survived it. Rebecca Cody, the student behind this effort, described her reasoning as, “Wanting to show and spread school spirit along with our support because I have people close to me who have been affected by breast cancer.”
Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a scary reality for many women, and this month is all about helping make their reality more recognized. Take time this month to find a way to connect to the survivors all around the world, odds are there is one in your family or community who you can show your support to this October.