After attending a lecture on breast cancer awareness, students walked away with more knowledge about early detection of the disease.
The event, called the American Cancer Society Making Strides Kick-Off, was put together through a combined effort from the Office of Community Relations, Health Services and Women in Science Society and featured Dr. Karen Karsif, M.D., director of the New York Hospital Queens’ Breast Center, as one of the guest speakers. It was held on Thursday, Oct. 2 in Council Hall.
“Many college students don’t think they can get breast cancer,” said Karsif, director of the New York Hospital Queens’ Breast Center. “My aim with these lectures is to let the students know about the danger of this disease from now so it doesn’t come as a surprise to them in the future.”
According to Karsif, being diagnosed with breast cancer is not a death sentence. With early detection, doctors can start working on preventing the illness from progressing.
“Early detection means that patients have a better chance of surviving this disease,” she said.
Karsif also said with early treatment, the chances of the cancer not returning is 95 percent.
The doctor suggested that all female students get yearly digital mammograms.
“Once we were not able to detect cancer in young women as easily as older women because the vast amount of breast tissue in their breasts,” she said. “But, due to technology the digital mammography is able to show signs of cancer in younger women.”
Dr. Nancy McGarr, a St. John’s Speech and Language Skills professor and breast cancer survivor, also spoke at the event detailing her experience living with the illness.
McGarr said when she was first diagnosed with cancer, she was angry but was able to overcome her grief with the support of her students and a little bit of humor.
“When I told my students of my condition the asked how they could help and I told them the best they could do for me was to all get A’s,” she said.
Karsif said that many women believe in the myth that if no one in their family has breast cancer then they won’t have it either, but this is not true.
“Most women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer had no one in their family with the disease,” she said.
Karsif also applauded St. John’s for their great desire for outreach.
Junior Asia Nettles, who attended the event, said she also feels the University actively supports breast cancer causes.
“I think St. John’s does well in supporting breast cancer victims in beating this horrible disease,” she said. “I have been here for two years and I have participated in the breast cancer walk each time and this year will be no different.”