Cancer awareness makes a difference

As you have probably seen from all of the pink on campus, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Sports teams of California Lutheran University, including the football and men’s hockey teams, accessorized their uniforms with pink, and the cheerleaders displayed pink pom-poms at the homecoming game.

There is an effort from all areas of campus to raise awareness for breast cancer.

The question now is how many people are more aware because of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month? This question happened to be one that has impacted my life.

My mother, Laurie de la Garrigue, is a breast cancer survivor and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has had a big impact on her life.

“I think the fact that there is an awareness month for breast cancer has a huge impact,” de la Garrigue said.

“It has made the whole subject of breast cancer more approachable. When I was a teen, it wasn’t a subject that people talked about. Now, getting a mammogram is something that we talk about in the teacher’s staff room at work.”

The approachability in and of itself is a leap in women’s health. Reminding women every October that getting checked for breast cancer saves lives.

The increase in awareness lets women know that they are not alone and gives them confidence to get checked.

A family friend of mine skipped one exam and when she went for her exam the next year, she discovered she had invasive breast cancer and needed a double mastectomy.

Had she remembered to get that exam the previous year, she would have been able to catch it in time.

“I got regular checks every year,” de la Garrigue said. “One year, I was clean, the next, I had cancer. It may not seem like a lot, but just the yearly reminder to get checked in October is a big help for bringing about awareness.”

This reminder is why CLU makes such an effort to bring about awareness on campus and to put on programs that gather donations for cancer societies.

One of these events was the Lee Denim Day Men’s Fashion show on Oct. 23, put on by Resident Assistant Jaynessa Lopez.

Passionate in the fight against all types of cancer, Lopez decided this would be a good event to bring to CLU students.

“As awareness [for breast cancer] has grown, I have seen many on campus events supporting women’s health as well as men’s,” Lopez said.

“The Wellness program provided shower hangers for each room in the residence halls, one side shows how to do a breast examination and the other is how to check for signs of testicular cancer. The CLU community has taken a big part in awareness.”

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month gives tangible results. However, breast cancer is almost viewed as being the “popular” cancer.

But, if there were larger national campaigns for the awareness of other types of cancer, it would be just as effective.

Imagine the impact that campaigns for other health issues would have.

Aisling Byrnes, a senior bioengineering student who is interning at a gynecologist’s office this semester, said that more women come in for mammograms during October than any other month.

“We get more women that come through for mammograms as well as other women’s health checks,” Byrnes said.

“October is a busy month for women’s health, mostly due to breast cancer awareness.”

Next time you pass one of the pink posters on campus, take a minute to think about how one simple campaign brought so much awareness to many people.

Think about what you can do to create awareness for all health concerns in your community.


Sarah de la Garrigue
Staff Writer
Published Oct. 30, 2013