(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — a time where many don pink to show their support, or attend events supporting women survivors, like Cowgirls Against Cancer.
“This is an annual event started 15 years ago designed to raise funds to support people in the Pikes Peak region,” said Kyle Park, executive director of the Norris Penrose Legacy Foundation.
The event specifically supports those with a breast cancer diagnosis, those recovering from it or going through treatment.
“[It’s] To help with quality of life things. So… items that aren’t covered by insurance or… that would normally come out of their pocket. That may be wigs, mastectomy blouses, food vouchers, gas vouchers — just ways to help them live with some dignity while they’re going through this treatment,” Park said.
Breast Cancer Awareness month is also about raising awareness for mammogram screening.
“[It begins] at age 40, and if they have high risk factors, then obviously early imaging is necessary,” said Dr. James Haug of Optum Colorado Springs Radiology.
This is because early detection could save a woman’s life.
“And also… don’t need as much treatment,” said Dr. Laura Pomerenke, a breast surgeon at UCHealth in Colorado Springs. “They’re more likely to be able to avoid things like chemotherapy, de-breast conservation because the tumors are small.”
But, it’s not just women who might need to be screened regularly.
“Men can get breast cancer. And, those are typically more serious just because, obviously, there’s a predilection for men to not seek out care as often,” said Haug.
Which is why doctors stress knowing what your risks are, and family history plays a big part in that.
“You want to know about your parents, your grandparents, aunts and uncles… that’s really, really important,” Pomerenke said. “Genetic testing is widely available now and it gives us very important information about what kind of risks we’re looking at.”