News: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: creating recognition, supporting thoes affected
Story by Cpl. Thomas Bricker
BARSTOW, Calif. - While October brings thoughts of autumn, Halloween, and other seasonal events to mind, the past 27 years have brought an issue to light and made the tenth month of the year about something completely different for many.
October 2012 marks the 27th year of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the United States. In estimations by breastcancer.org, more than 230,480 women were expected to be diagnosed in 2011. During the same year, approximately 39,520 women were expected to die from the disease.
Thousands of people have lost loved ones to breast cancer. With its frequency today, one in eight women will develop the disease.
“My grandmother had breast cancer for as long as I can remember,” said Kaleigh Sheehy, wife of Sgt. Benjamin Perry, services noncommissioned officer with Marine Corps Police Department aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif. Sheehy’s grandmother fought a rough battle with cancer for at least 15 years she explained as she sat in a park aboard the base playing with her three children.
Since its inception in 1983, people throughout the world have been using National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to bring the cause to the forefront of societal health issues.
Many events take place to create awareness for breast cancer, including the nationally recognized Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a sequence of 5k races held in cities across the U.S. to raise money for breast cancer research.
One of the more familiar and recognized associations with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the color pink. People throughout the U.S. buy pink clothing to show their support for the cause and survivors of the disease, as well as remembering those who’ve lost their battle with breast cancer. The proceeds from many of these products that display the pink ribbon are donated to research programs, hoping to find a cure for breast cancer.
While some people don pink clothing or accessories as a way to spread awareness for the issue, some people have other ways of showing their support.
“I decided to get a tattoo for my grandmother in honor of her,” said Sheehy, whose pink ribbon tattoo commemorates the role model she lost to the disease in 2007. “She played such a huge role in my life. She was married to a Marine at one point in her life so she was able to talk to me often and help me out with being married to someone in the military,” she added.
Sheehy explained that her tattoo is on her wrist, for most people to see, so that it can be brought up in conversation often. This way, she can bring up breast cancer awareness in daily conversations, a topic that’s obviously close to her heart.
During October, many organizations including the American Cancer Society and the National Medical Association stress the importance of mammograms, an X-ray designed to show tumors in breasts before they develop in size large enough to feel with the hand. Mammography has played a large role in the reduction of breast cancer cases, catching them at the earliest stages of their development.
Many methods are used for treatment of those already affected by breast cancer.
“My grandmother’s fight with breast cancer was always changing. She would start to recover and then have to go through more treatments because it would come back again,” Sheehy explained. Chemotherapy and radiation, along with herbal or spiritual methods were different ways her grandmother tried to fight the disease, Sheehy said.
As this year’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to an end, let’s not forget those who are impacted by this disease. For more information on breast cancer research, visit www.cancer.org.
This work, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: creating recognition, supporting thoes affected, by Cpl Thomas Bricker, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.