Each October, as fall foliage offers brilliant displays of reds and yellows, people around the world come together to turn the world pink. Consumer products change their labels to shades of pink and professional football teams wear pink gloves and socks and incorporate the pink ribbon on their helmets to raise funds and show support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Behind the parade of pink ribbons and festivities, there lies an important message. Breast cancer will affect one in eight women in their lifetime. It’s the most common cancer in women worldwide and the second most common form of cancer overall. Most of us will be touched by breast cancer at some point in our lives, either knowing someone with the disease or being diagnosed ourselves. That’s why breast cancer awareness and knowledge about how you can lower your risk is the first step to beating it.
The good news is that today, thanks to advanced research, our understanding of the disease is bringing us closer to a cure. The National Cancer Institute and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis reached nearly 14.5 million in 2014 and is expected to rise to almost 19 million by 2024. Research shows that progress in early detection and knowledge of risk factors is a major reason for the increased survival rate.
While 60-70 percent of people with breast cancer have no connection to risk factors, and others with risk factors will never develop cancer, tthere are steps you can take to lower your risk. Incorporating regular exercise, following a diet low in saturated fats and high in fruits and vegetables, consuming less alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight are all ways you can help reduce your risk. But the most important thing you can do is to get screened regularly.
We may not know it, but breast cancer survivors are living and working among us every day. We asked some Konica Minolta employee survivors to share what being a survivor means to them and to offer advice for prevent. By sharing their stories, we can spread awareness and help end breast cancer for good!
Sue Ceva, GMA Project Analyst
“As a survivor, I am grateful to have had the cancer detected early on. I am aware of the importance of being tested every year. I like to think of myself as a poster child for the importance of mammograms. So, my words of wisdom are: GET TESTED!”
Jodi Cody, Senior Contract Dealer Administrator
“I have such a sense of pride to call myself a Survivor (I believe that word should be capitalized). Nobody ever wants to have to say they are a victim to this disease, but being a Survivor for over 18 years gives others hope, especially those who are at the beginning of this journey. I am so glad to be able to give others hope and courage during their journey. No journey is the same, but we are all in it together.”
Shantel Hoppin, Credit/ Collection Representative
“I would like to share the importance of being tested and keeping up with your appointments and physicals. I was 42 when I was diagnosed, and had not gone to the doctor for two years prior to this because I did not have health insurance. I’m a great believer that early detection as well as my team of doctors are what helped save my life. This has been a very tough journey on me financially, physically, mentally and spiritually. I believe my faith, determination and my family helped get me through. It’s been the toughest fight yet, and I’m happy to be among the survivors.”
Linda Levinson, Senior Credit Specialist
“You never know how strong you are until you are put in a difficult situation. Being a survivor is empowering and gives you incredible strength. I have had a very positive attitude throughout treatment to not let this disease beat me. I also have a wonderful support system. My hope for others is that this disease does not affect anyone I know for a very long time, but if I can ever help anyone that goes through it, I would be happy to discuss my experiences and hopefully be able to support others. Getting through it is not easy, but you can do it.”
Judy Olivero, Assistant General Counsel
“Being a survivor means I am lucky to be here today. I can’t take tomorrow for granted. It’s important to make each day count, to live a good life and be grateful for all that I have in this world, especially the wonderful people in my life. My advice for others is to:
- Have a healthy lifestyle, eat well, sleep well, exercise regularly and don’t overindulge in alcohol.
- See your gynecologist for yearly checkups.
- Do self breast examinations every month.
- Get an early baseline mammogram and then follow up regularly as recommended by your doctor.
- If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, follow up and begin treatment as soon as possible. Be positive, be hopeful and never give up. Fight like a girl!”
Heather Cahill, Manager, Sales Admin for Printers
“I believe that becoming a survivor starts the day you are told you have cancer and chose to fight this disease with everything you have. I celebrate each anniversary by reminding everyone about the importance of testing through both mammograms and self-exams. My journey was not an easy one. I realized I was stronger than I thought; I fought like a girl … and WON! Yearly testing is so important to get a jump on, so that a potential disease can be caught and treated early. My advice is to mark your calendars and make that appointment!”
Dawn Patt, Credit Administrator
“Being a survivor means that if you can get through this disease, you can get through anything. You have to have faith, hope and belief. Get tested regularly.”
Another important way to find a cure is by supporting and donating to breast cancer organizations. Each October, Konica Minolta employees wear pink to show support for the cause. For each “pink” photo employees share on social media this month, we’re making a $5 donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the highest-rated breast cancer research non-profit. We’ve also committed to match donations made to our online fundraiser up to $10,000.
For a look at our employees’ efforts, go to our Flickr site at