School recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Math teacher is involved in local support organization



Many students who attended the varsity football game on Oct. 8 wore pink to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Every October, the color pink seems to make a sudden appearance in countless aspects of life around the United States and the world, signifying Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink shows up on clothing, water bottles, shoes and football fields — including on Oct. 8 at the varsity game at Brebeuf Jesuit — nationwide.

While some may brush this imagery off as nothing more than marketing or some sort of outlandish tradition, the need for awareness not only of breast cancer, but how to best prevent and detect it, is an ever-present one. Organizations take part in campaigns to increase understanding of breast cancer and raise funds for further scientific investigation into its causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment. 

The American Cancer Society emphasizes the importance of regular breast cancer screenings for women. Though breast cancer can impact men and women of any age, doctors especially recommend that women between the ages of 45 and 50 begin to receive routine screenings as older women are most at-risk for the disease. While breast cancer can be found after symptoms appear, a great deal of women with breast cancer do not have symptoms. 

That being said, the most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. However, it is essential that anything out of the ordinary is examined by a health care provider. The most essential form of screening is a mammogram, which has the ability to detect the cancer up to two years before it can be felt. 

Though there is not a specific cause, breast cancer risk factors include age, family history, genetic mutations and other factors such as diet and physical activity, according to Early detection is of the utmost importance with breast cancer, as the earlier it is recognized the easier it is to treat. 

“When they look at you and tell you that you’re probably not going to see another Christmas, it’s a pretty devastating thing,” math teacher Mrs. Lisa Ford said. Though she is not a breast cancer survivor, Ford currently has cancer and is in remission. “(Cancer) is something that I live with every single day,” she said. “While it is a huge part of my life, unfortunately, I’ve tried really hard not to let it define me. I can’t help but worry, but I try not to be consumed by worry.” 

I’m an absolute fitness freak because I know that a strong, healthy body is the best way to fight (cancer).”

— Math teacher Mrs. Lisa Ford

Given that cancer impacts each individual differently, Ford said that there is not an easy way to give advice. “I think it’s really important to control what you can control. I’m an absolute fitness freak because I know that a strong, healthy body is the best way to fight (cancer). But a strong healthy mind is also the best way to fight it. I would advise people who know people with cancer to be supportive of them and to never say ‘I know what you’re going through,’ because unless you’ve gone through (cancer), you don’t know,” she said.

Ford emphasized the importance of being present to support those who are battling cancer. “You can be there for them and let them have their space to work through it as best they can,” she said. 

The Indy SurvivOars, one such avenue of support for breast cancer survivors, are based at Geist Reservoir in northeast Indianapolis. The Dragon Boat racing team is partnered with numerous health care providers around Indianapolis and they participate in competitions across the country. Ford has paddled with the SurvivOARS as what she termed a “support oar.” 

Since only women who are breast cancer survivors can fill the 22-seat boat, Ford cannot compete in the races, but she assists in training and on occasion participates in support oar races. “It’s an amazing organization,” she said. “If anyone has extra dollars, it is a great cause, especially during the month of October. If anybody needs more information, I’m happy to provide it,” she said. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most effective ways to decrease chances of getting breast cancer are to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly and limit alcohol consumption. 

You can learn more about breast cancer at