Pink is a Fall Color

While some Americans prepare for colder weather and Halloween celebrations this October, others prepare for breast cancer awareness events held locally and nationwide.

“Breast cancer, one of the most common cancers among American women, affects roughly 230,000 women as well as 2,300 men each year and is responsible for more than 40,000 deaths annually in the United States,” President Obama said in a proclamation of October 2015 as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Cancer is used to define several diseases in which abnormal cell growth is present within the body. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), cancer is “characterized by abnormal cells that grow and invade healthy cells in the body.”

“Cancer is caused by external factors, such as tobacco, infectious organisms, and an unhealthy diet, and internal factors, such as inherited genetic mutations, hormones, and immune conditions,” according to the American Cancer Society.

According to NBCF, abnormal cells can increase in number where “a buildup of cells often forms a mass of tissue called a lump, growth, or tumor.”

Breast cancer cells start in breast tissue and can multiply and metastasize to other areas of the body, according to NBCF.

Breast cancers can be divided into several categories including invasive cancers, or cancer which have spread beyond the original tissue and ‘in situ’ cancer, which is isolated to a specific tissue, according to NBCF. Each cancer diagnosis is also determined by the affected tissue.

According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer screening can help to identify the cancer at an early stage and potentially decrease the chance of death. Mammograms, clinical breast exams and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used by health-care providers to detect the presence of cancer in the breast.

Self-examination of the breast by another person can help identify lumps within the breast or other changes that may be present, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Several local organizations will be participating in breast cancer awareness events this month.

Joslyn Rodriguez, director of philanthropy for the Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) sorority said breast cancer is her sorority’s philanthropic focus and that the chapter holds several events throughout the year.

Breast cancer education and awareness was picked as the national philanthropy for the ZTA sorority in 1992, according to Rodriguez.

“We have had a couple of events and we have three more planned,” Rodriguez said. “Our first was Mr. Think Pink, it’s a male-oriented pageant and we crown a student to be our male face of breast cancer.”

Mr. Think Pink helps the sorority raise money and promotes other events, according to Rodriguez.

ZTA also holds an annual pancake breakfast to raise money for breast cancer awareness in addition to a 5k run which is held during the spring semester, Rodriguez said.

Portales High School and ENMU sports teams will be holding breast cancer awareness games throughout the month to benefit the American Cancer Society and the Portales/Roosevelt County Relay for Life, the Portales News-Tribune reports.

La Casa Family Health Center is accepting entries and donations for their Pink Pumpkin Decorating Contest. According to La Casa, all proceeds will help support the Relay for Life. Pumpkins will be on display Oct. 23 from 11am-2pm.

“We can’t ever understand the significance of someone doing something for us if we don’t do something for someone else,” Rodriguez said. “If we can help one person be early detected and save a life throughout years of doing these philanthropy events, then I feel like we’ve accomplished something.”

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