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.