By: Jasmine Saunders, Editor-in-Chief
Breast Cancer Awareness Month may be over, but that doesn’t mean the awareness should end.
Several students on campus don’t have the luxury of only being aware of this illness for just one month because breast cancer is a constant in their lives because it affects the people they hold near and dear.
Sophomore Fatima Edwards has first-hand experience with breast cancer because her mother was diagnosed with the disease when she was only five years old, and her godmother who’s had breast cancer three times, ovarian cancer and currently has a tumor in her kidney.
“I’ve been around it, especially seeing the types of trials and tribulations my mother went through,” she said.
Another student, senior Lasheda Brooks, who is also a member of Alpha Nu Omega Inc. has similar experiences with the disease because her cousin was diagnosed at the age of 30. She got a mastectomy in which they removed her left breast and surrounding tissue, but after five years of remission, the cancer had metastasized, or spread to her brain and bones, and “it all went downhill from there.”
“It definitely had a negative impact on our family, but it also made us more aware that breast cancer is prevalent in the black community, and we should definitely get ourselves checked [out],” Brooks said.
According to the American Cancer Society, black women before the age of 45 have a higher incidence (at risk) rate and are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age.
Support groups from around the local area came on campus to educate students about the realities of breast cancer.
One group called “Wings of Hope” was on campus to educate students.
Gloria A. Minus, the vice president of “Wings of Hope,” who also used to work for the university in the Health Department, is herself a breast cancer survivor of 12 years.
“God is the reason I have been able to overcome the breast cancer disease,” she said.
Another member named Teresa Bowers, who is an 11-year survivor, stresses the importance of students and young people understanding that breast cancer is a serious disease.
“Students need to be aware it could happen to anyone in their families,” she said. “Everyone needs to know about it and the signs to look for.”
Antionette Wright-Johnson, an 11-year survivor who founded All About Pink, Inc. felt compelled to help out others who are afflicted as well as help others in prevention. Breast cancer does not discriminate based on age, race, gender, or ethnicity, she said.
On that note, Wright-Johnson wants to remind students that those who don’t have family history are still at risk.
Students need to understand the “importance and reality of cancer,” she said.
(Photo: l-r, Teresa Bowers, Antionette Wright-Johnson, and Gloria Minus/ Jasmine Saunders)