Members of three sororities, two residence halls and one fraternity will learn how to properly scan for breast cancer this week through parties hosted by the Check Your Boobies (CYB) organization.
Kayla Driscoll, the CYB College Outreach Coordinator, said CYB is a non-profit organization that started seven years ago in Seattle. She said the hour-long parties include instruction on how to do breast self-examinations as well as a speech by a breast-cancer survivor.
“We started last year trying to reach out to the college environment because students are excited to learn and are interested in educating themselves,” Driscoll said. “They bring the information back to their aunts, moms, sisters and really get the message out there."
The parties are designed to educate and teach participants how to feel comfortable about discussing the subject, Driscoll said. The hosts also talk about how genetics factor into the likeliness of getting breast cancer and how to be nutritious.
“We try to make it fun and give the information in a frank manner so that people aren’t scared to talk about it,” Driscoll said. “We want to take out the clinical, scary-doctor tone.”
Heike Malakoff, the founder of CYB, said in her statement on the CYB website that her diagnosis of breast cancer at age 34 inspired her to create the organization. She said the goal is to help women detect signs of cancer at the earliest possible point.
“Check Your Boobies is about more than discovering or avoiding a cancer diagnosis,” Malakoff said. “It's about empowering ourselves to be proactive about our own health. I want women everywhere to be checking their boobies and ensuring for themselves the gift of health.”
The organization started with women in their 30s and 40s, but now includes college students and males, Driscoll said. A lot of men don’t realize that they can get breast cancer, and it is rewarding and worth it for men to be educated as well, she said.
“I think at first men are going to be a little nervous about the subject because the name of the organization is in your face,” Driscoll said. “I’ve gone to parties where there have been young men, and we have been well received.”
Sarah Wicheta, a WSU residence hall paraprofessional, said she coordinated the event for Stephenson North because she feels it addresses an important life skill the residents can benefit from. She said many don’t know what to look for when it comes to breast cancer.
“Family members of mine have suffered from breast cancer in the past, so this is a topic that hits close to home for me,” Wicheta said. “I feel passionately about it and have hopes that the Check Your Boobies program will supply important information for residents to safeguard themselves.”
The phrase regarding most cancers is, “the best protection is early detection,” Wicheta said. Covering female as well as male detection provides varying groups with a crucial life skill, she said.
CYB will have a booth in the CUB Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They will provide information about the organization and how to host parties, Driscoll said.
The Sigma Kappa, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta sororities, Stephenson East and North residence halls and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity will each participate in one party at either 5:45 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8, 9 or 10.