Academy of Student Pharmacists to bring breast cancer awareness to campus
In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, the UH American Pharmacist Association — Academy of Student Pharmacists — plans to bring awareness to campus through various events over the course of the month.
According to Breastcancer.org, breast cancer is the leading cancer in women, in which 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women is breast cancer.
It is important to get checked regularly such as every month through self exams, and yearly exams with a doctor as a precautionary measure towards detecting symptoms early on, UH College of Pharmacy graduate student and president of UH APhA-ASP Kaycie Rathburn said.
Two of the events that have been planned to raise awareness include the Silk Rose Jubilee and a Pink Lemonade Stand Informational.
Rathburn is one of the main advocates behind these projects and plans to stress to students that early prevention is the best prevention.
For those who had breast cancer in the past, it’s important for them to get regular check-ups so they can make sure there are no late side effects from radiation treatment, assistant professor at the University of Chicago College of Medicine Yasmin Hasan said in an interview. Hasan specializes in the treatment of breast cancer.
One of the main reasons Rathburn has been devoted to spreading awareness all month is to honor her grandmother fighting breast cancer.
Rathburn decided to put these events together because she noticed there is a lack of awareness in women’s health, and she wanted to create events that were catered toward women.
However, Rathburn also wants to raise awareness for men because of the outbreaks that occur with men being diagnosed with breast cancer.
“If we can at least help educate, help with early prevention and giving facts to people, it will help. We felt there was a lack in women’s health information,” Rathburn said.
Rathburn hopes students understand that breast cancer is a disease that does not discriminate.
“You never know who it’s going to be, but at least we can help give information to people so if the time does come they can relay the message or have it for themselves,” she said.
It is vital to take proper precautions toward getting checked, along with not being timid about turning to pharmacists as a resource, said Rathburn.
The second annual Silk Rose Jubilee event will take place to raise awareness, featuring guest speakers from the MD Anderson Cancer Center along with stage three breast cancer survivor Bonnie Castle speaking about her experiences with fighting the disease.
UH chapter president of Kappa Epsilon — a professional pharmacy fraternity — and third-year graduate student at UH School of Pharmacy, Abigail Wright, is one of the main coordinators that has helped plan the Silk Rose Jubilee since July.
“I think it’s going to be a real unique event, it’s going to be something very different for the College of Pharmacy,” Wright said in reference to the Silk Rose Jubilee event.
Wright hopes this will be an opportunity for more empathy to be put into play on a patient-to-pharmacist scale.
“I think a lot of people are exposed to cancer, whether it be through a family member or close friend,” Wright said.
UH’s chapter of Kappa Epsilon is comprised of six graduate students. Wright said Kappa Epsilon was originally founded to promote women in pharmacy and then over the years has shifted toward promoting cancer awareness programs.
“I think this will be an opportunity for some people to stretch that professionalism and get more empathy and really think about the human that’s on the other side of the pharmacy counter or room,” Wright said. “So that’s the change I want to see.”
“When Kaycie’s organization came up with their new initiative for women’s health, it was the perfect marriage between our passion and their people,” Wright said.
The Pink Lemonade Stand Informational will be an event comprised of student pharmacists informing students about cancer and prevention techniques, and it will give students the opportunity to donate to The Rose of Houston organization.
The Rose of Houston is an organization focused on providing women that don’t have insurance or access to health care with the proper care they need, Rathburn said.