Aztecs learn how to detect breast cancer early on

by Ana Ceballos

Paige Nelson, Photo Editor

On Oct. 18, San Diego State became the first university affiliated with an event promoting prevention and early detection of breast cancer.

Think Pink @ SDSU took place inside the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, with about 15 booths that informed attendees about different breast cancer pre- vention measures. This was the first event organized by the Helen Knoll Foundation.

The guest of honor was SDSU graduate student and Olympic gold medalist Keshia Baker. Baker, who is part of a joint master’s degree program in social work and public health, spoke about how cancer affected her. She lost her aunt two months ago to breast cancer. She also mentioned the breast cancer history that runs in her best friend’s family.

As Baker spoke about the pain of losing a loved one to cancer, she managed to lighten up the room by showing event goers her Olympic gold medal. She also spoke about meeting President Barack Obama last month.

“I don’t think he remembers me even if it was the fourth time,” Baker said. “But it was definitely an experience.”

After the guest appearance, attendees wearing pink in support of the event were encouraged to participate in the Think Pink Spirit Competition, which rewarded coupons for free pedicures and spa days to the winners.

Laura Knoll, member of the foun- dation and daughter of the woman honored, stressed the importance to sign up for one of the 90 available breast thermography screenings. Knoll said the screening has more than a $300 value.

“I am so happy we got these free vouchers. We are saving $300 for something that can only benefit us,” psychology junior Samantha Martinez said. “I have a history of cancer in my family, so I have actually been trying to look at options to prevent getting cancer.”

One of the foundation’s main goals is to subsidize screenings for young women. Most of the avail- able screenings range from $30 – $500.

“The money in the foundation goes to the individuals,” Knoll said. “Only $50 can save someone’s life and we want to give them the opportunity for early detection.”

Prevention methods stressed during the event included drinking water with a PH level of 8.0 or higher because cancer cannot survive at that level. The importance of a healthy diet abundant in green foods and daily exercise were also highlighted throughout the event.

On the medical realm, the HALO breast pap test, which detects ab- normal cells years before they be- come larger, was introduced as an option to young women who are not old enough for a mammogram or have a family history of breast cancer.

The self-exam was also given as a free option, which can be done at any time. Knoll said even though the self-exam is available to anyone free of cost and is very effective, it is difficult to use it as a preventa- tive option because in order to feel a lump while doing the breast exam you have to already have a some- what large tumor.

At the end of the event, close to when all of the free screenings were given away, attendees left enthusi- astic and more knowledgeable than when they arrived two hours prior.

“First of all, the screening is free and it is something so simple you can do and it might just save your life,” biology senior Lizette Guz- man-Zaragoza said. “I am glad I came.”