PITTSBURG — One out of eight women in the United States may develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

“You know at least eight women in your own life,” local Knitted Knockers volunteer Lois Baima said.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, cancer begins in cells which make up body tissues.

“Sometimes, the process of cell growth goes wrong and new cells form when the body doesn’t need them and old or damaged cells do not die as they should,” the foundation’s website reads. “When this occurs, a build up of cells often forms a mass of tissue called a lump, growth, or tumor.”

When malignant tumors develop in the breast and spread by “breaking away from the original tumor and entering blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into tissues throughout the body,” the foundation said. “When cancer cells travel to other parts of the body and begin damaging other tissues and organs, the process is called metastasis.”

According to Via Christi Hospital Cancer Center, in 2017 the center had 44 breast cancer cases. This number includes both ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive carcinoma.

 

Support from the community

From High School volleyball to local businesses, each have taken the time to raise awareness by hosting fundraisers or sending proceeds to the cancer center, local organizations which help people who are battling cancer or funding for research.  

For example, the Pittsburg Post Office sells stamps in October to raise funds for breast cancer research. Since 1998, Post offices across the U.S. have sold 1 billion breast cancer stamps and has raised over $86 million for breast cancer research.

People can visit the Post Office to find out more, and purchase a stamp which cost $13 for a book of stamps or 65 cents per stamp.

Win a spa day, while helping a cancer center

Another example is a special spa raffle by the Mount Carmel Foundation to help people who are battling cancer with monetary needs — including gas cards for traveling to doctors, nutrition supplements and prescriptions.

“We try to do something every year in October,” Johnna Norton said. “Part of it is raising awareness for breast cancer and just reminding women to think about themselves, think about their health and do monthly exams and come in and get 3D mammography.

The raffle is hosted by the foundation and Allure Salon & Spa which provided the items in the package.

The package includes a back massage, manicure, pedicure, hair style, and EVER skincare basket. Tickets are one for $5 or three for $10, cash or check only. People can purchase tickets at the Via Christi Hospital Cancer Center, radiology, community entrance front desk, clinics, and Mount Carmel Foundation or administration offices. People can also purchase tickets online at EventBrite by searching Mount Carmel Foundation. Tickets are on sale until Oct. 31 and the raffle will be drawn on Nov. 1.

 

Support groups and local help

ANGELS AMONG US

Angels Among Us is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization, with about 250 volunteers or “angels,” who help raise money for cancer patients.

Angels Among Us can help relieve some of the financial burden of utilities, wigs and other financial needs as cancer patients go through their journey.

People battling cancer may contact Diana Polston at 620-231-6337.

CARE TO SHARE

Care to Share have ‘Sharing Angels’ who volunteer their time and talents throughout the cancer survivor’s journey.

Care to Share’s assistance is based on the survivor’s needs — wigs, bras, sleeves, medical equipment, utility bills, groceries, fundraising and more.
Anyone interested in volunteering or setting up a fundraiser can leave a message on the Care to Share Facebook page, or call Teresa Davenport at 620-238-0902 or 620-362-3042.

CANCER SUPPORT GROUP

Via Christi Hospital Cancer Center hosts a support group for all survivors.

The group meet once a month at 3:30 p.m. every second Monday at the center. The meeting is conducted by a psychologist or a social worker.

The center also offers teleconferences with their affiliate Midwest Cancer Alliance. Dates are posted at the center on a by-need basis.

A certified breast cancer navigator is also available at the center.

The certified nurse goes to classes and works to help the breast cancer patient go through treatment, from diagnosis to end of treatment.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.