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Health break: Lady Lions Pink Zone game honors breast cancer survivors

What does basketball have in common with breast cancer? The Pennsylvania Pink Zone! On Jan. 17, the Lady Lions will host their 10th annual Pink Zone game against Michigan, honoring 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 and supporting an amazing cause. For those of us who volunteer behind the scenes with year-round fundraising or have a position funded by the Pink Zone, 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 help 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 does develop, it’s not uncommon to find yourself with many questions and decisions to make. Fortunately, Mount Nittany Health offers comprehensive services to provide you with both the medical and emotional support you need at every step, from breast cancer diagnosis to treatment to survivorship.

Specifically, my position is a dedicated breast health navigator. A breast health navigator is a nursing position created to ensure that people facing breast cancer have a dedicated support person to reduce any barriers to care they may face. I work to support women facing treatment and survivorship, and all of my services are free.

With a breast cancer diagnosis, it’s important to have a strong support system, especially on the clinical front, because it’s usually all new territory. Essentially, I am an advocate for you. I am an educator, consultant and liaison, and I help you navigate your treatment and survivorship. My goal is that you understand your care and your treatment plan, and that all existing barriers to your care are diminished.

Additionally, I am the facilitator for our breast cancer support group, which is offered monthly and provides a safe space for those who are newly diagnosed and those who are long-term survivors. We also have a phenomenal Lady Lion Basketball Cancer Resource Center, which connects you with the most up-to-date cancer and survivorship information.

The Pink Zone funding helps us to provide all of these incredible and necessary services. I hope you’ll join us in our efforts to support them by attending the Pink Zone game. Tickets can be ordered by visiting gopsusports.com/PinkZone. Breast cancer survivors can register for free tickets to the game by visiting pennsylvaniapink zone.org. There is a special celebration of survivors during an amazing halftime show.

For more information about the Pink Zone game as well as breast cancer and cancer care at Mount Nittany Health, visit mountnittany.org.

Angelique Cygan, RN, is a breast health navigator at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

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