October means awareness for breast cancer

Denny Cristales, Editor-in-Chief

Halloween, parties and mid-terms is what generally could sum up the month of October for a lot of people. What has become a well-known concept, however, is pink – pink for awareness, that is.

October is nationally regarded as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Its purpose is to serve as an advocate for awareness, helping raise funds for further research in order to help prevent, develop treatment or find a cure for the disease.

The month also serves as a support system.

Breast cancer affects both men and women. As of 2014, an estimated 40,000 deaths occur due to breast cancer for both genders, according to the Susan G. Komen website.

Cerritos College is no exception.

Michelle Mancilla, a business administration major, said, “It is important that we come together as a community to advocate and show awareness of breast cancer because many of our loved ones know someone or is someone who has breast cancer.”

Students on campus were either in support of the awareness that October sheds on breast cancer, or knew someone directly who had the disease.

“I have family members who have breast cancer and it’s really important for me to support and wear all pink,” Arturo Flores, a nursing major, said. “My grandma, she died. It hurts my heart seeing people have breast cancer.”

It also impacts Luis Montes, an aspiring police officer.

“Breast cancer, it’s sad, my mom’s friend had breast cancer and she died. My mom, she cried the whole week.

“I felt sad, too, because she was like family … we know her daughters, we hang out; we knew them ever since we were little, we grew up together. We always give flowers (to the dad) … we visit every Saturday, every week and always ask how they are doing.”

Students like Melody Ortega, a radiology major, knew people who were diagnosed who quickly prevented the cancer from spreading.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer, on average, is usually found after the symptoms have already been developed and matured; the website recommends consistent screening tests, devices used to “screen” your body of symptoms before a disease becomes prevalent.

Trustee John Paul Drayer also had an experience with the disease; his mom died in 2003 as a result of breast cancer.

She came to Cerritos College part-time and never got to finish and attain her A.A. degree due to the cancer. She kept fighting, however.

“When you almost die and are close to death, you kind of look at life a lot differently.

“She became outgoing in some ways, but she was also scared … It was always in the back of her mind. It’s something you don’t have control over,” Drayer said.

The athletics department also shows its pink-support.

For instance, the volleyball team, for the fifth-straight year, has been a part of the Dig Pink campaign from the Side-Out Foundation.

“We believe education is key to increasing knowledge about the disease, and fundraising is essential to support further research,” head coach Teresa Velasquez said.

For a month, a lot of effort is put forth in recognition of a cancer that hits thousands.

For students like Jennifer Sandoval, an undecided major, it’s important to understand what the awareness month really means; even for Maritza Suzanna Olmos, a math education major, she stressed the importance of donating.

Paying it forward to at least one person is reward enough, according to Mancilla.

“If I can help spread the word for other women to go get checked out for breast cancer, it really would be a rewarding way to outreach and do my part for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”