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Health Services host breast cancer awareness

In observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Emily Andraejewski and Lenka Schalkle (far right, left to right) of Palomar College Student Health Services explain the methods of breast self-exams to registered dental assistant students Monique Leibee, Christina Asmus and Amanda Tabikha (far left, left to right) at a display adjacent to the student union. Oct. 13, 2015. By Lou Roubitchek / The Telescope
In observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Emily Andraejewski and Lenka Schalkle (far right, left to right) of Palomar College Student Health Services explain the methods of breast self-exams to registered dental assistant students Monique Leibee, Christina Asmus and Amanda Tabikha (far left, left to right) at a display adjacent to the student union. Oct. 13, 2015. By Lou Roubitchek / The Telescope

Palomar’s Health Services Centers hosted a breast cancer awareness event Oct. 13 in the Student Union Quad.

Partnered with the American Cancer Society and North County Health Services, Palomar’s Health Services aimed to inform students about prevention and early detection methods. They also offer free breast exams to students at the Health Services Center, which is included in the student health fee paid during registration.

Lenka Schalkle, staff assistant at Health Services, said she wants to bring “awareness to the topic of breast cancer” to save students lives through early detection and treatment.

“It’s important that students begin early on, doing their self-breast exams, since it is recommended they begin in their early 20s and 30s,” Schalkle said. Early detection is the key for breast cancer, she added.

Emily Andrzejewski, 33, a Palomar nursing student, was also at the event to help raise awareness and to explain the self breast exams. On the table were different sized, fake breasts with hidden lumps to show students how to do their self breast exam.

“The best way to find breast cancer is by doing a self breast exam at home. You should be doing it at least once a month, around the same time every month so you know the baseline and what would be abnormal for you. If you find it early, it’s easier to take care of,” Andrzejewski said.

There are three patterns that one can use to do a self breast exam, but the American Cancer Society recommends the “up and down” pattern shown in the Palomar College Health Services Center’s handout called Breast Self-Exam.

Even if you do your self breast exam at home, it is still recommended to also see a doctor for a breast exam as well. “You should be going every three years if you are in your 20s and 30s to get your breast exam taken care of by a doctor,” Andrzejewski said.

One thing to realize is that anyone can get breast cancer. “You can get it at any age, even if you are a male or female, you can still get breast cancer … you shouldn’t rule it out,” Andrzejewski said. There are many risk factors for breast cancer that include family history and the BRCA gene.

If you are interested in a breast exam, you can schedule at one of Palomar’s two Health Services centers: San Marcos or Escondido.

“We do them all year around, but try to bring them out as a promotion in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” Schalkle said.

The health centers have more information on breast cancer and breast cancer awareness. They also offer a range of other services to students. Please visit them on campus or visit www.palomar.edu/healthservices for more information.

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