Florida A&M University students and faculty are taking time off to commemorate Breast Cancer month with local events to raise awareness.
“We’re having what’s considered a cancer week,” said Kristen Solomon, 20, a junior general surgeon student from Stone Mountain, Ga.
Solomon explained that all the events will be hosted by different FAMU organizations and anyone can attend.
On Oct. 5, FAMU’s Palmetto resident assistants, Leon County Department of Minority Health, and Office of Surgeon General will be putting on a program for breast cancer awareness called, “Think Pink” in the Phase III recreation room.
Relay for Life will be held on Oct. 13 and events will continue Oct. 14 with “Night Out for Breast Cancer,” which will be hosted by the Office of the Surgeon General and the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.
“That’s the event where we go and have different performances and understand the strength and courage of breast cancer survivors,” Solomon said.
She also said one lucky student will receive a Lawanda Renee-Henry scholarship during the week.
The annual Pink Tie ball will also be hosted by the Office of the Surgeon General. This extravagant affair will be on Oct. 24 at the Kleman Plaza in downtown Tallahassee.
Solomon said it is the ball’s second year and they are starting earlier so it will be bigger and better than last year’s to attract more students.
“We’re trying to get a lot of students to come out,” Solomon said.
The Office of the Surgeon General will have seventy-five free tickets for students willing to participate in some of the month’s events. The student tickets will go on sale Oct. 13 in the SGA office for $10.
“Breast cancer doesn’t wait until you get older,” Solomon said. “You have to know about it now, be informed about it now start testing ourselves now.”
Elizabeth Davidson, supervisor of Tallahassee Memorial Sharon Ewing Walker Breast Health Center, said the rates of breast cancer are increasing.
“I haven’t pulled any recent statistics,” Davidson said, “However when I look at local articles, the incidents of breast cancer are going up.”
The U.S Department of Health and Human Services, released statistics stating African American women are more likely than all other women to die from breast cancer. The reasons range from tumors being found too late, not being able to get proper health care or follow-up after getting abnormal test results.
“Our success rate of finding breast cancer earlier has improved significantly in the past ten years,” Gullet said.
She said machines such as the computer-aided detection system, which picks up anything unfamiliar in the breast, and digital mammograms that has been proven to be better for people with dense breasts.
Both Gullet and Davidson said more college students have been coming in to get tested. But Davidson said not enough have come in to make a significant estimate of cancer findings in that age group.
“We don’t do a lot of college students unless they’re between the ages of 35-44. Most are younger than that,” Davidson said.
Gullet said it’s important for every woman to be tested for breast cancer, the younger the better.