October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month, and efforts by the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital and students organizations have already begun to raise awareness across campus.
In a lifetime, one out of every eight woman will have breast cancer, according to Agustin Garcia, associate professor of clinical medicine at Keck School of Medicine.
Norris has partnered with the campus bookstore to sell pink T-shirts to promote finding the cure for breast cancer. The shirts, available in light or hot pink, depict a pink ribbon with the words “For a breast cancer cure” and “Fight on.” The Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Beta Phi sororities are also involved in these efforts. Proceeds from the T-shirts will go to Norris.
“We’re hoping to see a sea of pink T-shirts,” said Leslie Ridgeway, director of media relations at the USC Health Sciences Campus.
Norris has also partnered with the athletic department, and on Saturday will host a booth at the Coliseum before the football game, where visitors can talk to doctors and staff about breast cancer and become more educated about what can be done to prevent and detect it.
“We hope this helps everybody become more aware of breast cancer and the needs of prevention,” Ridgeway said. “Maybe women can use the month to schedule their mammograms.”
Aside from raising awareness, organizers are also hoping to raise money to fund research at Norris.
“We want to work with the USC family and we thought it would be better to keep it within the USC family,” said Garcia, acknowledging that there are many organizations the money could go to.
Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority is also working toward promoting breast cancer awareness.
For the past seven years, the sorority has hosted its signature fall event, “Check Yourself,” said Heidi Arredondo, a senior majoring in psychology and a member of the sorority.
“As women pursuing higher education, Sigma Lambda Gamma hopes to empower all women to be active in knowledge about their health,” Arredondo said in an e-mail.
“Check Yourself” is centered around a presentation given by a doctor from Keck. The audience will also hear a testimony from a breast cancer survivor.
In past years, the sorority has donated its funds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Last year, the sorority donated more than $600 to the Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation, an organization based in Inglewood that provides low-cost treatment and care to minority patients.
This year the event is on Oct. 19, and proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Network of Strength.
“At the end of the day, what improves the cure rate of breast cancer is early detection, which is intimately related to breast cancer awareness,” Garcia said. “Early detection is really the vital element.”