Dr. Michael A. Hill advised women at the Breast Cancer Survivors’ Luncheon at Claflin University to get mammograms.

In the spirit of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the university hosted the event in honor of breast cancer survivors on Oct. 20 at the Orange and Maroon Room.

Hill, a cancer liaison from the American College of Surgeons for Orangeburg and Calhoun counties, told the crowd, “Most women by the age of 40 should have had a mammogram.”

In his address, Hill said there are numerous centers that administer mammograms in the state and grants are available for breast cancer treatment.

“We shouldn’t have any excuses today not to go get treatment,” Hill said.

Because many people with breast cancer do not show symptoms, Hill said women should have routine checkups and mammograms.

Sadie Jarvis, Claflin director of counseling and coordinator of the event, said the goal was to bring more awareness of breast cancer. “We definitely need to be aware daily and make sure we keep checking ourselves and eating properly.”

Breast cancer survivors at the event shared their stories and told how long they have been cancer-free. A gift was presented to Pernell Caldwell, who was the most recent cancer-free survivor at the event.

Caldwell was diagnosed on June 19, 2014. She said she encourages her daughters to get mammograms.

Jackie Thomas, another cancer survivor and a Claflin alumnus, said a support system of family, pastors and coworkers helps keep up the positivity. She said she encourages people to speak up about breast cancer.

“I share my story and it has helped other women,” Thomas said. “A lot of people hide cancer; I never did.”

Thomas was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and has been cancer-free for 12 years.

Olanma Hazel Mang, a mass communications student at Claflin, reports for The Panther, the university’s student newspaper. www.claflin.edu/news-events/the-panther

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