This article was written by John Yuen and orginally appeared in the The Spectator, the Stuyvesant High School newspaper May 2, 2011.
A representative from the Maurer Foundation came to Stuyvesant in order to educate students about breast cancer on Thursday, April 7 and Friday, April 8. Students who are currently taking health attended the presentation in Lecture Hall A.
Maurer Foundation educator Susan Simon presented a slide show that informed students about the risk factors for breast cancer, such as high estrogen levels, improper diet, lack of exercise, negative environmental factors, and smoking.
She went on to discuss the importance of detecting breast cancer in its early stages. Starting at age 18, women can undergo Clinical Breast Exams in which doctors feel the breasts to detect abnormal tumor growth. In addition, medical professionals recommend that women get mammograms—x-rays of the breast—annually beginning at age 40.
“It is very important for teenage girls to understand how to do self-breast examinations, because the earlier they get into the habit, the more they will continue the habit, and hopefully it would help them in the [case] they detect something,” health teacher Barbara Garber said.
Simon also passed around breasts models so students could practice feeling for abnormal lumps, though she reminded them only a biopsy can determine if the lumps are cancerous or benign.
“The presentation was valuable because many women don’t find out that they have cancer until the lump is relatively large. It is important to know how to self-examine ourselves and catch the cancer as soon as possible,” junior Tiffany Wang said.
Though the presentation focused on breast cancer and women, the representatives reminded the male students to not take the information lightly because about one percent of breast cancer cases in America occur among men.
“It is important for boys to be able to understand self-exams. Boys 15 to 25 are susceptible to testicular cancer, and even though the focus is on breast cancer, they still understand what a lump is like, what a lump feels like,” Garber said.
Garber feels that the presentation effectively informed students about breast cancer and how to combat it. “That’s the focus of the Maurer Foundation: to get people to detect lumps and then to understand a little bit about different tests, and how the disease progresses, and how you can detect them at different stages,” Garber said. “It is an excellent program.”
Want the Maurer Foundation to present at your school? Request a breast health program today.