Promoting pink: CSUN and Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Kristina Sanborn

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October marks breast cancer awareness month, and some student organizations are commemorating the month with events.

The United Sorority and Fraternity Council, composed of 15 Greek organizations, will hold Greeks Against Cancer from Oct. 10-12 as a memorial for all types of cancer.  The event will include an art walk and guest speaker professor Steven Oppenheimer.

But the USU Craft Corner, which has previously marked October by creating crafts to promote breast cancer awareness, will not be re-creating the event this year, said Jessica Change, event coordinator for the Craft Corner.  Instead, it will promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex (LGBTQI) awareness.

Over the last three decades the number of women with breast cancer has risen slightly, but the number that have died from the disease has slightly decreased, said biology Professor Steven Oppenheimer, who teaches the biology of cancer class.

“One in 10 women will get breast cancer, so it’s clearly one of the most common (cancers),” Oppenheimer said. “But the death rate for breast cancer is about a quarter of those who get it, where as lung cancer is about 90 percent of those who get it.”

Stage I Cancer has a 98 percent survival rate, and stage II has 88 percent. For stages III A and B, survival rates are at 56 percent and 49 percent, respectively, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  The deadliest, stage IV, averages a 16 percent survival rate.

Women over 55 have a greater risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer than younger women, but there are still risk factors for all women, regardless of age, including radiation exposure, obesity and drinking alcohol.

Breast cancer is easier to detect than other cancers and discussed more often between physicians and patients, Oppenheimer said. Because the cancer develops in such a sensitive part of the body, women are more sensitive to it and mammograms are able to detect the cancer before women can feel anything.

Some students were unaware of October’s classification. Katie Parker, a junior deaf studies major, said she did not learn about breast cancer awareness month until she went grocery shopping and saw pink ribbons and key chains.

To combat this, junior music industry major Marcee Fitzpatrick said CSUN could include something on its homepage where students could create a banner to promote breast cancer awareness, or the campus could have a day when everyone wears pink.