SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Teenage girls from across the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry attended “CUPcakes and Conversation” to learn more about breast health care.
WSAV’s Tina Tyus-Shaw teamed up with Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion, and St. Joseph/Candler Hospitals to create the breast health empowerment event to educate girls on early detection, which is key to surviving breast cancer.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t have this opportunity to learn about breast health, Tyus-Shaw said. “It was pretty much a subject no one talked about. And still today there are some people who really don’t want to talk about it.”
The high school students heard from oncologists about the importance of breast health and had the opportunity to ask survivors questions about their experiences with breast cancer.
“You might think oh it’s nothing, it’s just a teenage thing,” Breast cancer survivor Gigi Moore said. “But it could be cancer. If it’s a color change, an irritation, redness, darkness, all of those things matter when it comes to breast health.”
The girls could play trivia games and get measured to find their correct bra size for proper support.
“I never really learned how to properly take measures and I never really learned much about it,” High school student Jalyn Greene said. “I figured coming here today would allow me to learn more about it and be more in touch so I can take measures against it so I can start early prevention.”
Although it’s rare — breast cancer can develop at any age.
“I learned that checking yourself is a big deal because it can happen to anybody,” McIntosh County Academy student Abagail Scott said.
Nearly 80 percent of young women diagnosed with breast cancer find a lump themselves. Tina says she is excited to educate a community of young women who will learn early the importance of breast health, detection, and prevention.
“We need to help our girls. We need to protect our girls,” Tyus-Shaw said.
While breast cancer in young women is rare, according to the Young Survival Coalition more than 250,000 women living in the United States today were diagnosed under age 40. In young women, breast cancer tends to be diagnosed in its later stages and be more aggressive.
Young women also have a higher mortality rate and a higher risk of metastatic recurrence. The National Cancer Institute suggests that 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and it is estimated that 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S this year.
Since the Buddy Check 3 Campaign began 18 years ago, thousands of women have paired with two trusted friends who commit to reminding each other to conduct a self-breast exam on the third day of each month. Visit wsav.com/buddycheck3 to learn more.