Kerelo: October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, helping to fund research and raise awareness

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a worldwide campaign that involves thousands of organizations, all coming together to find a cure and to raise awareness. Most people have either had a family member or friend that suffered from cancer. Or, they themselves have suffered. It has affected everyone’s lives in one way or another. 

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer starts when cells within the body begin to grow out of control. 

“These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump,” the American Cancer Society wrote. “The tumor is malignant (cancer) if the cells can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.” 

Every year, more and more cases develop in both men and women. More cases mean a  higher death toll. 

“In the U.S. in 2018, there will be an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women,” the American Cancer Society wrote.

2018 cancer facts and figures of the estimated new cases and estimated deaths caused by cancer. -courtesy of cancer.org

Thousands of people have been affected by cancer, whether it be breast, colon, pancreatic or so on. Cancer has been a common staple within the past decade and has affected countless lives. 

My aunt Pam and I Christmas Eve 2016, two years after her recovery from cancer. -Features Editor/Sydney Kerelo

My own family was affected by cancer. My aunt was diagnosed with cancer in the early 2000’s when her four girls were very little. This was only the first battle. After undergoing treatments and chemotherapy, she beat it, but a year later it returned. She again went through chemotherapy and other treatments and came out on top. 

About eight years after being told she was cancer free, my aunt was given the news that it had returned. She was told she had triple negative breast cancer, which has none of the receptors that normal breast cancer has. It is a very aggressive and hard to cure cancer. 

Determined to beat the disease, my aunt underwent a double mastectomy, a surgery that entirely removes both of her breasts. She had gone through this surgery right before Christmas time but she still held Christmas Eve with our entire family at her house, showing her incredible strength.

After her third round of chemotherapy, Hoda Kotb from “The Today Show” called her and two other women to come to her show and talk about their battle with breast cancer.

My aunt, Pam Casuccio, showing a picture of her and her daughters on “The Today Show” talking about her battle with cancer. -Features editor/Sydney Kerelo

Lisa Flam, a writer for “The Today Show,” wrote the story, “Hoda to cancer survivor: ‘You exude life and love.'” This talked about the interview Hoda had and the experiences that my aunt and these woman had gone through to get to where they are now, as survivors. 

“Kotb, a fellow breast cancer survivor, noted that recent studies have shown that body image issues are among the most common psychological and emotional concerns for breast cancer patients,” Flam said in the piece. “And sometimes, she said,’a smile, a laugh and a little self-indulgence can go a long way.’” 

Kotb wanted to show the world a different side of breast cancer, a way to create empowerment and strength through body image. 

Cancer has been a word commonly thrown around in my family. It is something that we have become accustomed to talking about, knowing we’re not the only ones who have dealt with it. Thousands of families all over the world have been dealing with cancer as well, including the treatments, scars and even the death of a loved one from it. 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is dedicated to finding research and funding to cure the disease that has caused millions to suffer. There are hundreds of fundraising campaigns and sights that raise awareness. Even the smallest donations can help save lives. 

For comments/questions about this story, email features@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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