On Wednesday, October 25, the National Biological Honor Society (Tri-Beta) at Saint Xavier University hosted an event in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tri-Beta welcomed two breast navigator nurses from Advocate Christ Medical Center, Patrice Stevens and January McNeal.
Tri-Beta historian and event creator, Angelo Anagnostopoulos stated, “I hope students gained knowledge about breast cancer, including the risk factors, early detection, and treatments performed to fight this horrible cancer.
I hope students can learn from an event like this and go to friends and family and ask them to get a clinical breast exam or mammogram.” Both Stevens and McNeal have earned degrees from SXU. Stevens received her Bachelor’s degree in 1980 and then her Master’s in Nursing in 1986 from SXU.
McNeal received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Master’s in Nursing from SXU in 2014.
The two guests gave a slide show presentation on the facts about breast cancer, risk factors, and different preventions and treatments of it.
McNeal works at the front end of the stages of breast cancer, “I’m there for them for mammograms, ultrasounds, and biop sies. I go through all the steps with them, I’m in there with them when they are getting their biopsy, being their support, most women are nervous,.” said McNeal, “After the biopsy, myself and the doctors will call them with the results to let them know if it’s cancer or not and what the next steps are. If it’s cancer I hand them over to my partner Patrice [Stevens].”
Stevens plays a different part as breast health specialist, “Once a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, that’s when I step in.I work with three breast surgeons at the hospital and so anyone who is newly diagnosed. My role is to educate them, [provide] resources, support, and everything and anything they may need, I step in.”
According to Stevens and McNeal, “Breast cancer is the number one occurring cancer in women.”
“Every two minutes, a woman will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer,” said Stevens. “500,000 people will die of breast cancer in this decade, which is 10x more Americans than Vietnam deaths,” she said.
Breast cancer can also be found in men as well. About 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and roughly 2,600 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in men each year.
During the presentation, they showed various pictures of lumps that a person with breast cancer may find. They also spoke about the many different types of classifications of breast cancer.
Stevens stated that, “Gender, increasing age, family history, diet and obesity, and radiation can be causes of breast cancer.”
The best way of prevention is early detection using mammograms and physical breast exams, which one can conduct on their own.
After the presentation, the nurses opened the floor to questions and Tri-Beta held a raffle. The tickets for the raffle were a dollar each or five dollars for six and all the money was donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
The Foundation addresses multiple breast cancers. They do extensive research, global outreach, and hold many events to raise money that will go towards the research of breast cancer.
“I would say our raffle was a highlight of the night as we raised over $120 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to help fund Stage IV/ Metastatic Breast Cancer Research,” stated Tri-Beta member Brandi Sampson.
The event and packets that were handed out contained a plethora of information on breast cancer awareness and information on how to preform a self exam and the various types of breast cancer.
Suzi Reyes, Vice President of Tri-Beta, stated, “My biggest take away from the event was how Patrice and January were really informative.
They explained the material and medical terminology to our community very well.”
For more information on breast cancer, self exams, mammograms, and more you can visit Advocatehealth.com/cmc/healthservices /center/-for-breast-care/.