What does basketball have in common with breast cancer? The Penn State Pink Zone. On Sunday, the Lady Lions will host their ninth annual Pink Zone game to honor breast cancer survivors and those who care for them. It’s an extraordinary day when the Bryce Jordan Center is filled with fans dressed in pink. For those of us who volunteer behind the scenes with year-round fundraising, it’s a true celebration of those efforts.
Most of us know someone who has faced breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, a woman in the United States has a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. The two most important risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and growing older.
While you can’t change these risk factors, you can reduce your chances of getting breast cancer by engaging in regular physical activity, keeping a healthy weight and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.
If breast cancer develops, early detection is important to improve your chances of successful treatment. There are three steps you can take to help find breast cancer early:
Mammogram: It is recommended by the National Cancer Institute that women 40 years and older receive a mammogram every one to two years. Women who have a family history of breast cancer should talk to their doctor about whether they should be tested at an earlier age.
Breast exam: A breast exam by your doctor or nurse should be part of a health exam about every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and older.
Breast self-awareness: Each woman’s breasts are different in shape and appearance. In order to notice any changes in your breast, you must know how your breasts normally look and feel. Report any of the following changes to your doctor or nurse immediately:
• A lump, hard knot or thickening
• Change in size/shape of the breast
• Dimpling/puckering of the skin
• A rash or scaly or red skin of the nipple/breast
• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
• New pain that does not go away
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, Mount Nittany Health offers comprehensive services to provide patients with the medical and emotional support they need at every step, including breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.
Mount Nittany Medical Center has a dedicated breast health navigator, Angelique Cygan, to support women facing treatment and survivorship. Our Breast Cancer Support Group is offered monthly, and we have the Lady Lion Basketball Cancer Resource Center to connect patients with the most up-to-date information. The Pink Zone funding helps us provide these needed services.
Join us in our efforts. Attend the Pink Zone game. Tickets can be ordered by visiting www.gopsusports.com/PinkZone. Breast cancer survivors can register for free tickets to the game by visiting pennsylvaniapinkzone.org. There is a special celebration of survivors during the halftime show.
For more information about the Pink Zone game as well as breast cancer and cancer care at Mount Nittany Health, visit www.mountnittany.org.