To celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, three Francis Marion University Greek groups came together to promote awareness of the disease and to encourage students to take precautions.
Tuesday Oct. 23, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Iota Phi Theta and the Xi Nu chapter of Zeta Phi Beta joined together to present Save the Ta-Tas: Breast Cancer Awareness. As part of their philanthropic outreaches, these groups support awareness of all types of cancer and the efforts to find a cure.
President of Zeta Phi Beta Maggie Laursen, a psychology major graduating in December, said that it is important for students to know about cancer because it is a universal problem.
“Cancer is an everyday occurrence,” Laursen said. “It isn’t going away, so we need to increase awareness as well as funding for funding cures for cancer.”
Laursen also said that while she feels a lot of people know about cancer, many feel that it is not an issue for them if they have not dealt with it themselves or had someone in their family with it. She likened it to having knowledge of safe sex practices but not using them.
“It’s like how students are about sex education,” Laursen said. “They know about it but they still refuse to take the necessary precautions.”
The guest speaker for the evening was Ayanna Shivers. She is a member of the Lambda Omicron Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta. Shivers shared her personal experience with breast cancer, as well as slideshow with facts about the disease.
“It goes without saying, that breast cancer awareness is a very important topic,” Shivers said. “I am so pleased that you are taking an interest in it.”
According to the statistics that she found, 15 percent of women who contact the disease have a first degree relative that had it. Shiver’s revealed that her own family history put her at a greater risk.
“In my family, I have one aunt who is a survivor and one who was not so fortunate,” Shivers said. “Last year, with my first mammogram, there were some irregularities that we are still not sure what they are.”
Shivers said that while Caucasian women are more likely to get breast cancer, African American women are more likely to die from it. She said that this is due to women not going to the doctor when they notice a change giving the cancer more time to grow.
Although breast cancer is generally associated with women, men can also get the disease. For men the number of cases is around 1 in 1,000.
Shivers stressed to the audience that preventative measures can be taken. While they will not completely erase chances of getting cancer, they can sometimes reduce the severity of it. Going to the doctor regularly, doing self exams monthly, regular exercise and eating healthy were a few ways that Shivers gave that can help reduce the risk but also make sure that any abnormalities are caught early on.