Zeta Phi Beta combats breast cancer

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Harley Whisenhunt

The sorority Zeta Phi Beta displays a rolling board of information to enlighten students and faculty of breast cancer statistics and risk factors.

In a time full of uncertainty, a group of young women remains focused on making a positive impact. HSU sorority Zeta Phi Beta uses the platform of Breast Cancer Awareness Month to spread potentially life-saving knowledge to students and faculty on campus and raises money to go towards breast cancer treatments and research.

“My grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Zeta Phi Beta president and junior criminal justice major Kristen Washington said. “It made me more passionate about it.”

Zeta Phi Beta sorority president Kristen Washington leads her sorority sisters to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. (Kristen Washington)

Limited by COVID guidelines, the sorority sisters have forgoed annual gatherings where in depth discussions about breast cancer statistics and risk factors take place because of social distancing difficulties. Instead, the sisters created a display on a rolling board in Garrison containing statistics and risk factors associated with breast cancer.

“Breast cancer not only affects [those who have it],” Washington said. “It takes a mental toll on those who love them.”

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women behind skin cancers and exists in one out of every eight women during the course of their life. An average of every two minutes, a woman dies from breast cancer. An estimated 42,170 women will die of breast cancer this year.

“People often have it and don’t realize,” Washington said. “It can be impossible to notice signs if you don’t know them.”

Typical risks associated with the prevalence of breast cancer include genetics, being overweight, smoking, and using hormone replacement therapy. Those experiencing unusual changes to the breast area including lumps or swelling, change in skin color, or rash, should speak to a healthcare provider about receiving breast cancer screening. To learn more about breast cancer, visit BreastCancer.org.

In lieu of raising money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer, Zeta Phi Beta also spreads their philanthropy to aid the March of Dimes who help prevent preterm birth, local domestic violence shelters, and preschoolers by reading books to them.