Breast Cancer Awareness


Rilee Harris

I have had many days in my life where I know exactly what I was doing when I had received some unpleasant news. One of these days I remember like it was yesterday. The sky was a bright brilliant blue with very few clouds in the sky and the air around me was terribly hot and humid. Humidity rarely visited South West Kansas, but today it decided to bless us with its presence. However, the humidity wasn’t the only thing that was abnormal during that summer day. My grandmother, who was like a second mother to me, was at the doctor’s office for a checkup. The checkup wasn’t a normal check up however, and when I look back, I wish that it had been. After that visit my mom, whose eyes were red a splotchy when she sat us down in the living room that evening, delivered the news that my grandma had breast cancer.
Across the world, many people are diagnosed with breast cancer. For some the cancer is highly treatable, but for others it is too late.
The earlier breast cancer is found, the higher the 5-year survival rate Stage 0&1 have a five-year survival rate of 99%. Stage 4 has a 27%. All stages combined have a 90%. This is why we stress the importance of early detection (
Getting breast cancer can happen to almost anyone, but there are increased risks for some individuals. Women above the age of 50 are more likely to develop breast cancer and the same can be said if there is a family history of breast cancer. Genetic mutations can also play a role in the development of breast cancer. While there may be risks and increased risks for some individuals there are ways to help decrease these risks. The largest piece of advice is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes regular exercise and a healthy diet. Avoiding bad habits like smoking and drinking can also help lower the risk of breast cancer and other cancers alike.
While applying these new habits to form a healthier lifestyle is beneficial it may not prevent a person from developing cancer. Therefore, it is recommended that women make appointments to check for breast cancer regularly.
“Breast cancer is a “lucky” cancer.” Heather Wright-Renick, the Breast Program Coordinator and Breast Nurse Navigator at The Breast Center at St. Catherine Hospital, said. “We have more diagnostic options than other cancers, breast cancer is the focus of research, and receives a lot of publicity, especially during October. This isn’t by happenstance. I feel like we all need to do our part to help honor the ones before us that paved the path. Don’t just talk the talk…walk the walk…get your mammograms when it’s time, know your family history and share it with the rest of your family, and live a healthy lifestyle. Also, The Breast Center at St. Catherine Hospital is the only NAPBC accredited breast center between Kansas City and Pueblo, Colorado. The Breast Center allows us to provide comprehensive breast care to patients in southwest Kansas.”

If a woman is diagnosed with cancer there are many available options for treatment however, it is different for each patient. Treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and more. They may also combine different treatments together. Whether or not a woman has increased risk for breast cancer, they should make regular appointments for mammograms. Early detection is key to treating the cancer both quickly and effectively. Sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry.