October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and each year health professionals in the United States rally to bring awareness to an international health issue that affects both women and men. Grambling State University is also participating in the month of awareness by hosting events designed to help the fight.
More than Conquerors, a breast cancer support group, provided free breast cancer screenings on GSU’s campus Monday, Oct. 14 from 2-5 p.m. in the Betty E. Smith nursing building. Nurses from different parts of Louisiana were present to educate students and provide free breast exams.
Dr. Trixie Thompson, founder and CEO of More than Conquerors, and her team created the “Check those Breasts” event. Dr. Thompson is a two-time breast cancer survivor and after being treated the first time for the disease 34 years ago.
At the age of 25 she was first diagnosed with stage 2 invasive breast cancer in the left breast. Thompson underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy to destroy the cancer cells. Twenty-three years later at the age of 49 she was again diagnosed with breast cancer, this time in the right breast. After undergoing another mastectomy and five years of hormonal therapy the cancerous cells were eradicated and she has been in remission.
Krystal Terell a sponsor of the event said though she has not suffered from breast cancer herself the condition has affected her family members.
“Women in my family, and my husband’s family have died from breast cancer affecting us directly,” Terell said. “So I think it is important to support events that promote educating health awareness to others and proper steps to get examined.”
Educating students about detection is one of the group’s main areas of focus.
“Some people don’t even know what they are looking for, you have to educate yourself,” Terell said.
More than 30 students took advantage of the screenings.
“It is important to detect early on if you are able, that way you can stop the spreading of the cancer earlier,” Shanella Ambrose, a junior accounting major from Dominica, said at the screening.
Getting screened does not just stop here, you can stop by the nursing building during hours of operation to ask a nurse how to perform a breast exam or pick up a pamphlet.
College students are usually able to detect breast cancer early on.
“I think college students do not think they could possibly get it, and are afraid to get check-ups they will [delay] it for when they become older,” Charly Gay, a junior mass communication major from Houston, said.
“And that is a problem right there, especially knowing black women are affected by breast cancer in big numbers.”