The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: a time for proactivity

As October rolls around each year, shades of pink begin to fill the air. Some members of the Greensboro community go downtown to Center City Park to hang pink ribbons in memory of those whose lives were affected by breast cancer in commemoration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer touches lives every year. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, there were more than 295,240 new cases of breast cancer in the United States and 1.7 million cases worldwide.

“My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer around two years ago, and she went through intensive chemotherapy,” said junior Michelle Perine. “I know it was hard for her, having two children and being young. But I am proud to say that she has survived cancer, although she is not the only one.”

All individuals, regardless of gender, can be affected by breast cancer. Studies show that breast cells and tissue of either gender may turn into tumors, although men are 100 times less susceptible to breast cancer than women. Thus, occurrence of the disease depends more on biological factors than on gender, social or environmental factors.

Clinical researchers who have been treating breast cancer recognize that the behavior of tumors is based on the individual’s biological makeup.

“Even with relatively small numbers of tumors, they were able to identify different biologic subtypes of breast cancer, which confirmed what clinicians had long suspected,” said Dr. Lisa Carey, associate professor of hematology and oncology at the University of North Carolina in a Medscape expert interview.

A tumor is a lump of abnormal tissue which emerges from the buildup of damaged cells that do not die. The deterioration of normal cells occurs when cell DNA replication goes wrong, causing aggressive tumor growth across the body.

“I am very scared of getting breast cancer because I think it is a hereditary disease,”

said sophomore Seneca Joan Andres. “Both of my grandmothers have passed away because they couldn’t fight off tumor cells in their chests. I have been told by my doctors to get mammograms since breast cancer runs in my family history.”

According to, about 5 to 10 percent of the types of breast cancer are viewed as hereditary due to the abnormal genes passed from parent to child.

This is a relatively low percentage of incidences due to genetic history. Rather than worry about what we cannot control, we should educate ourselves about what we can change.

“Not surprisingly, the American diet and lifestyle is a recipe for breast cancer,” said Dr. Christine Horner, a leading surgeon and expert in the breast cancer field, in a Natural News interview. “There are specific foods that you can consume like spices, herbs and supplements that have tremendous effect at either slowing down the growth of breast cancer or preventing it in the first place.”

Others suggest that one can lower the risk getting breast cancer contraction by engaging in regular physical activity and reducing stress exposure. These preventive measures have additionally been shown to improve overall health of breast cancer patients.

“A couple months ago, I read about a study that showed how 10 – 15 hours per week of any kind of exercise, no matter the intensity of the workout, can help to reduce the risk of breast cancer, I think by 25 percent,” said sophomore sports studies and health sciences major Erin Ogden.

Today there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors alive in the United States. Since 2000, breast cancer incidence rates have been decreasing due to increased awareness and improved research.

“I know there is lots of funding put toward raising breast cancer awareness,” said sophomore Bonner Scholar Connor Pruitt. “I have volunteered for the annual fundraising event Race for the Cure campaign, and I have observed how people were willing to run more miles only to donate more money for this campaign.”

While support and remembrance of breast cancer survivors is growing each year, it is important for us to stay proactive and live a healthy lifestyle. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, educate yourselves and take preventive measures against this disease.

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