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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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College of Liberal Arts to hold on-campus walk to raise funding for breast cancer initiatives

Breast Cancer Awareness

More than halfway through October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is coming to a quick close, but students, staff and faculty still interested in contributing to the fight against breast cancer still have a chance.
The College of Liberal Arts is coordinating a Walk to Win the Fight Against Breast Cancer fundraiser, in which all of the proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Texas, a nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to those affected by breast cancer.
The college usually has at least one fundraiser a year through the State Employment Charity Campaign, a workplace campaign for Texas higher education and state agency employees, but this is the first year the fundraiser’s focus is on breast cancer, said Mandy Stark, administrative coordinator in the College of Liberal Arts Office of the Dean.
Angela Mayorga, business coordinator in the College of Liberal Arts Business Office, said the college chose to raise money in support of the fight against breast cancer because of the pervasiveness of the disease.
“So many of our lives have been touched we thought that it was something everyone can get behind,” Mayorga said.
Approximately 232,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and over 40,000 will die from the disease in 2015, according to projections from the American Cancer Society.
Robin Fuchs-Young, a molecular-cellular medicine professor in the Health Science Center, researches why some women get breast cancer, while others don’t.
“We know that in the United States approximately one out of eight women will get breast cancer, but that means seven out of eight don’t, right?” Fuchs-Young said. “So I want to understand why women get breast cancer — the ones that get it, why do they get it?”
Researchers don’t know all the risk factors behind breast cancer, but they do know that African American women and obese postmenopausal women, in particular, are at higher risk, said Fuchs-Young.
“There’s quite a few risk factors,” Fuchs-Young said. “We know that having a close family member that gets breast cancer is definitely a risk factor.”
Carol Rice, a health specialist in the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, is the program coordinator of an initiative to increase breast and cervical cancer screenings for underserved and uninsured women in rural Texas counties. Rice received a $1.5 million grant in May from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas to continue the initiative after completing a three-year, $3 million grant for the same program.
“The reason [the Cancer Prevention Research Institute] wants to focus on rural, frontier and border counties is because women there find it very difficult, especially uninsured women, to find a good source for mammograms,” Rice said. “And then as a result there is a tendency for those women to be diagnosed later when it’s harder and more costly to treat.”
In the first three years, over 12,000 women were served and screened by the program. About 400 of these women found out they had pre-cancerous conditions, and over 60 were notified they had cancer, Rice said.
“And that’s the importance of this project, is finding the women who either have the precancerous conditions or the women with actual cancer and getting them in for treatment,” Rice said. “But also to raise awareness for those women.”
Rice said while the survival rate for breast cancer has increased in recent years, it is critical that all women have access to earlier detection.
“You have to be aware that if you don’t have any type of insurance, unless you’re participating in a program like ours, then you’re going to be subject to a pretty significant bill,” Rice said. “Plus you have the problem of losing days off from work and so forth.”
Without the type of assistance the A&M program provides, women who received cancer diagnoses may not have known until it was too late, Rice said.
Fuchs-Young said those curious about breast cancer and cancer prevention can find good information on it from the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.
Registration to participate in the Walk to Win the Fight Against Breast Cancer fundraiser will continue until the day of the walk, Stark said. Early bird registration is $5 until Oct. 21, when it will bump up to $10 and then $15 for day-of registration.
The walk will kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 26. Anyone interested in registering for the event can contact Mandy Stark at [email protected].

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