How Are Universities Worldwide Contributing to Breast Cancer Awareness?

United States Australia North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Oct 20, 2023

breast cancer awareness

To raise awareness and support the fight against breast cancer, higher education institutions worldwide are working on various initiatives.

Initiatives range from informative events to providing important resources and conducting in-depth research to prevent the disease, Erudera.com reports.

Indiana University School of Medicine has received a $2.2 million gift from the National Cancer Institute to invest in research about breast cancer. The grant is also allocated to contribute to the improvement of treatment methods.

In a recent statement, President of Indiana University Pamela Whitten praised the institution’s research on this cause and researchers' commitment to seeking cures and treatment for breast cancer.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the University of North Alabama hosted its bi-annual wellness fair earlier this month, providing flu shots and other health services to its students, faculty, and the local community.

A Western Kentucky University graduate has developed an app to provide healthcare services and resources for thousands of people. The application titled "Feel For Your Life", behind which is Jessica Baladad, not only provides information about self-examination but also facilitates tracking and screening.

Howard University is also among the institutions engaging in raising awareness on breast cancer and offering lessons about ways to reduce the risk. On October 6, the school hosted its annual Pink Party in partnership with Howard University Hospital.

“We want to create a fun and engaging environment for people to be better informed about breast health. Breast care is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach,” Carla Williams, Ph.D, interim director of Howard University Cancer, said.

At Ohio State University, staff has been working to raise awareness about a specific form of cancer - the Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). The university aims to increase awareness of inflammatory breast cancer and the specific challenges associated with its diagnosis. Data show that IBC accounts for one to five percent of all breast cancer cases in the country but causes ten percent of breast cancer-related deaths.

In honor of this month, Union College, a liberal arts college in New York, has announced it has partnered with the Kenney Center for Community Engagement and Outreach and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity to raise money for the cause.

Aiden Markoff, a member of the Union College football team, leads the initiative. His motivation for taking on this project is his mother Cicily Ilg, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Furthermore, Ohio Wesleyan University’s Benes Rooms has organized a special event to promote breast cancer awareness. It was an in-person brunch uniting women from different backgrounds to show their solidarity with those affected by this disease.

According to data from the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second most common detected cancer in women in the United States, after skin cancer. The same estimates that about 297,790 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women, and over 43,000 women will die from the disease.

A study by the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Richard J. Solove Research Institute found that black women are at higher risk of developing breast cancer than white women. The same unveiled that black women are also at a higher risk of being affected by more aggressive types of breast cancer.

The study revealed there are some challenges that Black women face in their efforts to prevent breast cancer, such as:

  • Lack of awareness or understanding of genetic testing
  • Financial stress
  • Other health issues
  • Limited access to specialists who might recommend genetic testing

In 2022, over 36,000 Black women were diagnosed with breast cancer, leading to over 6,800 deaths.

A group of researchers at the University of Oxford, led by the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, has also created a new model that predicts how likely women are to be affected by breast cancer.

Similarly, scientists from the Chemistry and Biochemistry Departments at the University of Liverpool and Nanjing Medical School in China have collaborated to develop a biomedical compound that would potentially stop the spread of the disease.

“As a general rule, cancer that has spread is treated with chemotherapy, but this treatment can rarely be given without severely harming or becoming toxic to the patient. The importance of our work was to identify a specific and important target to attack, without toxic side effects,” Philip Rudland, professor at the University of Liverpool’s Department of Biochemistry, said.

A team of researchers from Swansea University has received funding from Cancer Research Wales and are investigating an artificial intelligence-based blood test for the early detection of breast cancer and pre-invasive conditions such as DCIS.

Earlier this year, researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and Health at Australia’s University of Sydney partnered with BCAL Diagnostics on the creation of a diagnostic blood test that would enable the early detection of breast cancer.

A recent survey of more than 1,000 people conducted by the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center found that many respondents couldn’t identify common breast cancer symptoms. A lump was the most recognizable breast cancer symptom for 93 percent of respondents.

Less than half of respondents admitted to recognizing other symptoms such as breast puckering, loss of feeling in part of the breast and retracted inverted, or downward-pointing nipple

According to the World Health Organization, 685,000 deaths globally were caused by breast cancer. The disease mostly affects women, and only about one percent occurs in men. A total of 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, WHO reports.

© Angiola Harry | Unsplash

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