Photo provided by Town of White Castle; Breast Cancer Walk of 2016.

Photo provided by Town of White Castle; Breast Cancer Walk of 2016.

Vanessa Hernandez , Staff Writer

Every year during the month of October we acknowledge and applaud the strength of women and their battles with breast cancer. Even with those who lost the battle, we continue to cherish their souls.

Breast cancer is like any other type of cancer, it’s most likely to occur in women, but men can get it, too.

Breast cancer can prompt the removal of either one or both breast- maybe even none. There are high chances of women surviving, but of course, it’s up to their bodies to accept treatment and continue fighting.

In the years that have come and gone, we found ourselves forgetting the majority of the women who battle breast cancer. We instead highlight the women with higher “value” and bigger names like Angelina Jolie, Giuliana Rancic, Olivia Newton-John, and more. Celebrities receive the limelight, but what happens to the people who don’t have as big of a name as they do?

According to the National Cancer Society, about 252,710 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, yet we don’t hear of them often or their battles with paying for medical treatment. Thousands of women have died from breast cancer, most from not being able to afford the medical treatment, and others naturally as the disease progresses. The statistics show that women are more likely to lose four jobs and go bankrupt while dealing with breast cancer.

A study shows that breast cancer is more likely to affect those with lower incomes. Employers are more likely to cut off their employees while they are sick, refusing to be reliable for the damage that can be done to the women. With this reality, women then have to rely on using their only savings to pay for expensive cancer treatments.

The National Cancer Institute states that the average breast cancer treatment cost runs from $23,078 not including the continuing treatment. Sandra Torres, a breast cancer survivor, claimed, “My expenses consisted of you know the medication, the trails, the basic treatment, the doctor visits and so forth. It was tough because at the time I wasn’t working.” Torres continued, “I was a stay at home mom, we relied on my husband’s income, but even then, there are bills that need to be paid and food that we need to survive. It’s not an easy thing, you can’t just decide  not pay, it just happens, unfortunately.”

Our conversation then switched its focus on how we choose to acknowledge these women.

“To an extent, we do help. A lot of people tend to not acknowledge these women because they are not involved personally, it’s understandable,” Torres expressed. “It’s a sensitive topic, but as a whole, I think with the walks, donations, and such are helpful. We do acknowledge the women, as best as we possibly can.”

When speaking of the walks and runs during the month of October, Torres did acknowledge the fact that there are more than enough men and women who do attend the walks, including herself. She says every year that she has gone for the past five years, the number of people who participate in them has increased by hundreds.

Torres mentioned, “Although, we have a “lower” name than the celebrities who have battled this vicious illness… We are acknowledged. We are acknowledged by each other, and those thousands of people who attend.”

She takes a long pause, staring at the white wall in front of her. Emotions running through her face, but suddenly she smiles, a beautiful twinkle sparks in her eyes, “You know, I can say I survived. A little help goes a very long way, so thank you.”

October is a month filled with happiness, sorrow, pride, and joy. We see women stronger than we ever have before, we applaud them, and we walk miles, and run marathons, and donate, we help. We help as much as we can.