PINK WEEK: A life-and-death lesson


By Laurie Hamame - lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com



Medical health technology students Lauren Hiteshew, Bailey Smith, and Ava Gordon demonstrate how to do a breast self-exam.

Medical health technology students Lauren Hiteshew, Bailey Smith, and Ava Gordon demonstrate how to do a breast self-exam.


Photos by Laurie Hamame | Amherst News-Times

Students read words written by teacher Wendi Lowe, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.


Photos by Laurie Hamame | Amherst News-Times

Pumpkins painted pink by juniors and seniors in Kim Haney’s medical health technology class are on display at the high school.


Photos by Laurie Hamame | Amherst News-Times

A HOW-TO GUIDE

to a breast self-exam

• Begin by examining your breasts in a mirror. Face the mirror with hands on your hips and shoulders straight. Look for any visible changes in your breasts such as size, shape, and color. Also, look for development of a lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or retraction, redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk.

• Raise your arms and look for the same changes.

• Lie down on a bed and use your right hand to examine your left breast and your left hand to examine your right breast. Use the pads of your first three fingers to apply light, medium, and firm pressure. You can examine your breast by using circular motions the size of a quarter or go up and down vertically as you are mowing a lawn.

• Feel for changes above and below you collarbone and in your armpit.

Women who do suspect a change should contact their doctor right away, but should not panic. A lump or change in a breast is not always a sign of breast cancer.

Source: The Susan G. Komen Organization

Eyes widened when freshmen heard the numbers: Approximately 20 of their classmates will be diagnosed with breast cancer and four will die from the illness, statistically.

First-year girls were taught Sept. 19 at Amherst Steele High School how to check their bodies for abnormalities such as lumps, hard knots, and skin puckering that can indicate they need to seek medical help.

“You need to know what is normal for you so that you can tell when someone is not normal,” said Mary Grady, a registered nurse and professor at Lorain County Community College.

About one in eight American women will develop breast cancer. This year, more than 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer and nearly 64,000 non-invasive cases are expected to be diagnosed.

The death toll is expected to top 40,000 American women in 2018.

Freshman Emma Misson said while the presentation was alarming, she found it extremely important. “I had no idea it affects that many people or that I should be doing regular checks,” she said.

Self-exams should be performed once per month and clinical exams during an annual pap exam, which screens for cervical cancer, starting at age 20.

Mammograms should be performed every year starting at age 40.

Amherst teacher and breast cancer survivor Wendi Lowe started the high school’s annual Pink Week in 2012 to promote awareness of the disease.

The week includes raffles, games, pink-outs at Comets sporting events, and hallways covered in busted myths and cancer facts.

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

Medical health technology students Lauren Hiteshew, Bailey Smith, and Ava Gordon demonstrate how to do a breast self-exam.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/09/web1_IMG_0004-1.jpgMedical health technology students Lauren Hiteshew, Bailey Smith, and Ava Gordon demonstrate how to do a breast self-exam.

Photos by Laurie Hamame | Amherst News-Times

Students read words written by teacher Wendi Lowe, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/09/web1_IMG_0001-1.jpgStudents read words written by teacher Wendi Lowe, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.

Photos by Laurie Hamame | Amherst News-Times

Pumpkins painted pink by juniors and seniors in Kim Haney’s medical health technology class are on display at the high school.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/09/web1_IMG_0006-1.jpgPumpkins painted pink by juniors and seniors in Kim Haney’s medical health technology class are on display at the high school.

Photos by Laurie Hamame | Amherst News-Times

By Laurie Hamame

lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com

A HOW-TO GUIDE

to a breast self-exam

• Begin by examining your breasts in a mirror. Face the mirror with hands on your hips and shoulders straight. Look for any visible changes in your breasts such as size, shape, and color. Also, look for development of a lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or retraction, redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk.

• Raise your arms and look for the same changes.

• Lie down on a bed and use your right hand to examine your left breast and your left hand to examine your right breast. Use the pads of your first three fingers to apply light, medium, and firm pressure. You can examine your breast by using circular motions the size of a quarter or go up and down vertically as you are mowing a lawn.

• Feel for changes above and below you collarbone and in your armpit.

Women who do suspect a change should contact their doctor right away, but should not panic. A lump or change in a breast is not always a sign of breast cancer.

Source: The Susan G. Komen Organization