For Stephanie Roush, the Medical Assisting Student Organization advisor at the Southern State Community College Central Campus in Hillsboro, reaching the age of 40 increased her awareness of the second leading cause of death in women — breast cancer.
“This is my first year of organizing the Pink Tea event and just looking at the statistics and hearing the stories of people that have survived breast cancer has been eye opening,” she said. “I turned 40 last year so I know this is something that I need to start being aware of.”
The MASO’s Pink Tea will be from 1-4 p.m. Saturday in the central campus main lobby with the goal of sponsoring an annual event to benefit breast cancer research, complete with food, raffle prizes, stories from breast cancer survivors in the community and an educational presentation from a representative of the oncology department at Highland District Hospital.
All money raised from the Pink Tea raffle will go to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and the Solove Research Institute, she said.
According to background supplied by SSCC, the wife of former Ohio State and NFL football player Chris Spielman was only 30 years old in 1998 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer after a self-examination revealed what turned out to be a lemon-sized lump in one of her breasts.
Her husband chose to miss the 1998 season to support her in her first fight with the disease, and then returned briefly to the sport the following year before retiring after suffering a neck injury.
Roush said that together the couple began raising funds for breast cancer research, while at the same time raising four children as Stephanie battled the disease four additional times in the ensuing decade.
The cancer returned for a fifth time 11 years after the initial diagnosis, claiming Stephanie Spielman’s life on Nov. 19, 2009 at the age of 42.
The American Cancer Society offered some statistics and advice concerning breast cancer:
● One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
● Breast cancer is diagnosed more often in older women, but it does occur in younger women and men.
● Death rates from female breast cancer dropped 40 percent between 1989 and 2016.
● Women should begin talking to their medical provider about breast cancer screening beginning at age 40, and should share family and personal medical history to determine risk factors.
● Some risk factors can be changed such as being overweight, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, not smoking or by changing certain birth control methods, but some cannot be changed such as inheriting certain genes, age, and simply being a woman.
● Women at average risk should begin having yearly mammograms by age 45, and can change to having mammograms every other year beginning at 55, but women at higher risk for breast cancer because of family history, breast condition, or another reason, need to begin screening earlier and/or more often.
“The good news is there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors living in the U.S. today,” Roush said. “And these people who are survivors are just amazing. They have battled through something that I can’t even comprehend and the strength that you see from them is nothing short of incredible.”
Currently, Roush said there are three individuals who will share their breast cancer survival stories at Saturday’s Pink Tea, and a representative from HDH Oncology will be on hand with an educational presentation.
“We greatly appreciate those who are willing to share their story,” she said. “I know it will make a difference for somebody because just having heard the one story I’ve heard so far, it made a difference to me.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.