Breast cancer awareness programs making a difference

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Zeta Tau Alpha sorority is launching a week long 'Pink Out' week for Breast Cancer Awareness month. "Would you like a shirt?" members ask students. Almost without asking, many freely step up and shell out five dollars to buy a shirt. The directive is, "Be sure and wear it at the game on Saturday night."

Later in the week, pink yogurt and cotton candy will follow. Organizers are convinced the events, with a gimmick, work.

"We know we're doing something to help other people and it's such a struggle so many women face across America," Jessica Patterson, president of the sorority said. "We've raised over $15,000 and participate in runs. We know it makes a difference."

Whether it's a pink shirt, or a pink ribbon these campaigns actually do empower people. Already on its first day, it made a difference in two women's lives.

At Christian Women's Job Corps an oncologist was invited to give a breast cancer awareness talk. Not one, but two women with a family history of ovarian cancer learn the disease can be linked to breast cancer. They find out they're prime candidates for a simple blood test that provides a genetic profile.

"Then you know what your options are either for treatment or early or closer surveillance to be diagnosed at the earliest possible moment," explained Dr. Kathryn Lewis, a radiologist oncologist.

There's a 10% chance the women will have the abnormality, something they didn't know before a breast cancer awareness event.

"I wasn't aware that there are as many tests as there are now," Christie Besch shared.  "I thought it was just mainly the mammogram, but learning that there are blood tests and mri's that could be done was really helpful."

"My plans are to go home and share that information with my mom because I have four sisters and maybe we can all be saved from having to go through something like that," Cathy Bedrick said.

So the next breast cancer awareness event you see in the coming weeks, be reminded, they do serve the purpose of saving lives.

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