By Eliza De La Flor / Contributing Writer

While many students are aware that October is designated as breast cancer awareness month, they may not know how to check themselves for early warning signs of the disease. Breast exams are offered by Student Health Services on both campuses. Students are also taught how to perform self-checks to facilitate early detection of any lumps or irregularities.

Kinesiology major Deanna Lidyoff, 44, said she did not know health services offered the exams. She said it was wise for any student to take advantage of the service and to learn how to check themselves.

Lidyoff said a popular perception is, “When you’re young, you’re invincible, nothing’s ever going to be wrong with you.” Marianne Palacios, the only nurse practitioner who works at both campuses, echoed Lidyoff’s thoughts when she shared more information on breast cancer. She said students should familiarize themselves with self-checks early, because although the baseline for regular breast exams is 35, there are cases when it strikes earlier.

She said an area where awareness is lacking is breast cancer in men. She said her father was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although it usually doesn’t affect men until they are in their 50s or 60s, she said she would like to see more awareness for men on campus.Palacios and nurse practitioner Tina Cassar both said self-checks, “Can’t start too young.”

Male student Ronel V. Abella, 19, a psychology major, said he was taught self-checks in health classes in junior high and high school. He said it was a positive to have the services available on campus. Abella said, “I think they’re finding the cure.” Health services are in A1010 at the LAC and the TO trailer at the PCC.