Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death. Two diagnoses this year alone make it a life-threatening and eye-opening disease.
October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, and several UMHB clubs and organizations created events to highlight the severity of the disease.
Light the Night Pink, sponsored by the Pre-Health Professional Club, was a beautiful display of creativity.
Because of her personal experience with an aunt who survived breast cancer and a godmother who died after three battles with reoccurring breast cancer, freshman pre-med, psychology major Lexxi McBride showed her support by attending the event, Oct. 28.
She said she enjoyed the pink-frosted popcorn, delectable pink lemonade and other tasty pink treats.
The speaker, Dr. Heidi M. DiFrancesca, is an assistant professor for anatomy and physiology I and II as well as cancer biology.
Dr. DiFrancesca she participated in an eight-year effort in breast cancer research where she studied the effects of enzymes on the prognosis of breast cancer.
She enlightened students on what cancer actually is and what happens to the tissue of a person diagnosed with either benign cancer or malignant cancer. Normal cells in the human body grow, divide then die.
However, cancer cells grow, divide, continue to divide but don’t die. Malignant cancer has the ability to invade neighboring tissue, but benign cancer does not.
Diagnostic technology and better medicine have reduced the mortality rate of men and women; but 1/1000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer next year, and 4,000 women are estimated to die of the disease in 2015.
Still, Dr. DiFrancesca said she “is excited that research, awareness, and survival rate of breast cancer has increased and the death rate has declined.”
Those participating may not have years of research experience like Dr. DiFrancesca, but their simple donation and presence made a difference in the growing awareness surrounding the disease.