USD students are promoting breast cancer awareness this month on campus.
College Against Cancer is a student-run organization at USD that works to raise awareness for cancer. Their main project is the Relay for Life in January, but during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they make it a point to recognize breast cancer awareness.
Rebecca Eberts, junior dental hygiene major and Colleges Against Cancer co-president, said Breast Cancer Awareness Month helps her remember why she is a part of this organization.
“I think a lot of women know about breast cancer but I think lot of young women don’t think about checking themselves and making themselves aware,” Eberts said. “It’s not common to get breast cancer in your early twenties, but it does happen. So I think making college students aware of the signs and symptoms of early breast cancer is really important.”
Eberts said breast cancer affects a significant amount of people.
According to www.imtakingcharge.com, a resource for women diagnosed with breast cancer in college, women can develop breast cancer as early as age 15. About 70,000 men and women are diagnosed with cancer between ages 15 and 39. There are common misconceptions among college women about breast cancer, so this website serves as a place for them to learn more about the risks and how to deal with the diagnosis.
Self-examination is one of the main things women should do to recognize the warning signs of breast cancer. If a woman finds lumps or feels discomfort or pain, she should seek medical help sooner rather than later.
Eberts said it’s important for college students to be aware of the sign and symptoms of breast cancer, even though they may not be at risk.
“You don’t get told to get a mammogram until you’re at least 40, so the risk for breast cancer is typically low when you’re young,” Eberts said. “It touches a lot of people. Being respectful and aware of that is important.”
Colleges Against Cancer is associated with the American Cancer Society and their fundraising goes toward patient support, cancer research, prevention education, and information detection and treatment. In the future, Pejsa said she hopes they can have a whole week dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness.
Madison Pejsa, senior dental hygiene major and Colleges Against Cancer co-president said she is passionate about Breast Cancer Awareness Month because it’s something close to her heart.
“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and so she went through radiation and chemotherapy, and also had a mastectomy,” Pejsa said. “It took a lot of time and money. Being a caregiver for someone and watching them go through everything, is something you don’t notice unless you’re a caregiver.”
Eberts also said she has had a family member go through cancer treatment and it can leave lasting emotional effects.
“It’s not affecting you physically, but watching a loved one go through that is hard,” Eberts said. “I think it made me very aware of the rippling effect of someone having cancer and how it affects everything around them.”