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Breast Cancer Awareness 10/24/2012

CCSD Lead Story - October 24, 2012

For the past 26 years, the month of October has been nationally recognized as Breast Cancer Breast Cancer Awareness LogoAwareness Month (NBCAM). Across the nation and around the world people gather in an effort to bring awareness of the disease, and to help find a cure. Whether it’s an individual who has just been diagnosed, a loved one who has survived, or a special friend who lost their battle, it is hard to find someone who has not been affected in some way by the perils of breast cancer. Breast cancer which can affect both women and men, is defined as a “malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast.”

Hundreds of organizations collectively promote marathon races, informational platforms, and other fundraisers, with one message – Fight for a Cure! Investing nearly $2 billion in research and support programs, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is one of the most popular charitable organizations that endorses finding a cure for breast cancer. They were one of the first groups to use the color pink, as a campaign symbol of support. Another organization that supports the fight against breast cancer is the National Football League (NFL). The NFL has even produced paraphernalia donning the hue and ribbon icon. So, there is no need to adjust the tint or contrast on the television screen, because those 330 pound lineman are actually sporting pink on their uniforms to commemorate NBCAM. The blush shade and ribbon symbol can be found almost anywhere and on anything, which includes: pins, mugs, assorted novelty gifts, candy, and food and beverage items.

To aid with research-based and assistance programs, the Charleston County School District (CCSD) is actively supporting the fight against breast cancer. Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley has asked all employees to wear PINK on Thursday, October 25, 2012. In addition to wearing PINK, schools and departments around the district are collecting funds, which will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation Lowcountry Affiliate; here in Charleston, S.C. Dr. McGinley has also agreed to match the amount of money raised by the school or department that raises the most money through employee donations. mammovanCCSD has also teamed up with the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) Hollings Cancer Center to provide mammogram services for employees. Their “Mammovan” is a mobile unit that travels to a designated school each month, to give employees the convenient opportunity of having a mammogram. Appointments can be made with MUSC’s Outreach Services department, and proof of insurance must be provided. CCSD employees can contact MUSC Mammographer, Kedron Mullen, by email or phone at (843) 792-0878. Mullen says that they follow the American Cancer Society's guidelines advising women from age 40 and older to get their mammogram testing done every year. Early detection is a key element in prevention, so if there are signs, women are advised to seek medical attention. To see a list of the Mammovan schedule, click here.

CCSD is proud to celebrate the life of one of our very own breast cancer survivors. Toni Linnen, a teacher assistant at Liberty Hill Academy, has been a survivor for the past five years. She was diagnosed in 2006, just four days before Christmas. Linnen reminisces on how her appointment to get further evaluation after her initial mammogram, posed concern. She recounts blaming the machine as being faulty, since there was no history of breast cancer in her family, but when nurse walked in with a box of tissues, Linnen’s fear became a daunting reality. After following up with her primary physician, she informed her family, friends, administrator, and staff about her diagnosis, which was in a 0-1 stage level. Toni LinnenHer surgeon told her there is “a pothole in the road, and that pothole can be fixed.” Taking heed, Linnen underwent surgery to have a lumpectomy, and received four chemotherapy treatments and 32 radiation treatments. Because she worked so closely with children, her doctor advised her to take a leave of absence to avoid getting infected or feeling sicker, since her body would be vulnerable to infection. She returned to work after eight months, feeling like a new person. Today, she credits early detection as a testament to saving her life. Her advice to women out there, “Don’t ignore anything. What some think is nothing, could very well be something. Signs come from everywhere, so call your doctor if you have a concern.” Linnen is so appreciative of the continued support she has received from her school and the CCSD community.

Remember that educating yourself and loved ones about breast cancer awareness is important.  Early detection methods can play a vital role in prevention measures and survival. For more information on breast cancer awareness, please visit breastcancer.org.

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