What Breast Cancer Awareness Means to Me

Every October, we see athletes, celebrities, and internet personalities douse their content and persons in pink to show support and awareness for breast cancer. At Virginia Tech, ribbons are worn by students, staff, organizations, and Greek life showcasing philanthropic projects to raise money, and social media themes turn a bright pink just for the month. 

While the support is encouraged and incredibly important, it seems as though many people don’t understand the gravity and importance of breast cancer awareness month. The reason I say this so candidly is because this is a reminder that I need to have my first test to see whether or not I carry the breast cancer gene. 

Breast cancer awareness means more to me than just strutting in pink and pinning a ribbon to my backpack. It represents a real struggle and issue that I will have to personally handle for the rest of my life. As a possible carrier of the gene, I have had to learn, as I’ve gotten older, about the procedures I will need to follow and tests I will have to keep updated and checked, as well as be cautious of my own behavior. 

This is more than just a month to worry about your breast health. For women, this is a real and prevalent issue that we will have to check every year. The significance of this issue is not one that we can remember for a month and “celebrate,” for lack of a better term, until Halloween, and all the pink begins to disappear along with the decorations of skeletons, pumpkins, and 50% off candy bags. Unlike spooky season, breast cancer has no timeline and doesn’t simply disappear once October ends. 

Though I do enjoy seeing NFL players decked out in pink cleats and sleeves, ribbons being distributed from organizations, and articles upon articles about women’s health tips, sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. What about the people like me, who know that this disease could possibly live inside them and are constantly aware of the tests needed to get done and warning signs that they need to be aware of? Where do we go? Who do we talk to for support? Who understands our point of view? 

Breast cancer awareness month is heavier than the few cents or dollars to the research centers that you donate to online or at the grocery store; it’s a fear that lives amongst people, students, and WOMEN like myself, who know and are beginning to understand the importance of the tests and actions we need to take in order to keep ourselves healthy. 

To all my lovely Hokie ladies, remember that breast cancer is a real issue and true topic of serious discussion because we are greatly affected by this. If you ever have questions or concerns about what you need to know and do to be aware of your well-being, contact your primary care physician and be candid about what you want to know. Staying healthy and aware is better than being ignorant and in denial. Protect yourself ladies, and when you wear pink or a ribbon, flaunt it because women are powerful, strong, and can overcome any challenge, including this. Happy October Hokies! :)