Breast Cancer Awareness is Not Just for Women

Go Pink Panelists (L-R) Irene McMahon Foster, Ronelle McGlothan, Michael W. Kovarik, Diane Keasby, Mary Brown, and Rosemary Durso-Mallette.
Excelsior College Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness.

The Excelsior College Wellness Committee holds events annually to create awareness and educate staff on health issues and prevention. On October 28, a “Go Pink” breast cancer panel discussion was held with both a male and a female breast cancer survivor along with community outreach educators.



Panelists included Irene McMahon Foster (YWCA Innovative Program Coordinator), Ronelle McGlothan (YWCA Outreach Educator), Michael W. Kovarik, (breast cancer survivor and book author), Diane Keasby (Community Outreach Nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital), Mary Bowen, (Breast Health Navigator at St. Peter’s Hospital and Excelsior College graduate), and Rosemary Durso Malette (breast cancer survivor and academic advisor at Excelsior College).

Go Pink Panelists  (L-R) Irene McMahon Foster, Ronelle McGlothan, Michael W. Kovarik, Diane Keasby, Mary Brown, and Rosemary Durso-Mallette.
Go Pink Panelists (L-R) Irene McMahon Foster, Ronelle McGlothan, Michael W. Kovarik, Diane Keasby, Mary Bowen, and Rosemary Durso Malette. Photo by Mike Hemberger

One of the main takeaways from the event was the importance of educating both men and women about breast cancer. Michael Kovarik, a breast cancer survivor stated, “He wants to get the word out that men get breast cancer.” According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, while all men are susceptible to breast cancer, the disease most commonly affects men between the ages of 60 and 70.

“Male breast cancer is only 1 percent of diagnosed cases,” said Kovarik. “People close to men should guide and enlighten them about how breast cancer can impact them.”

Kovarik was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. He thought it was a cyst, but within a few weeks his nipple became inverted and he was sent to a surgeon. He recovered and was diagnosed again in 2010. Kovarik continued,“People deal with disease not just in October (during Breast Cancer Awareness Month), but every month of the year.” Now a survivor, in 2014 Kovarik published his experiences with the disease in a book called Healing Within: My Journey with Breast Cancer (Battenkill Books).

According to panelist Mary Bowen, breast health navigator at St. Peter’s Hospital, “Breast cancer is not a one-size-fits-all illness. Doctors look at the size of the tumor, whether it has gone to the lymph nodes, and hormone sensitivity.” All of these factors play into treatment of breast cancer.

The panelists also shared advice for both men and women:

  • Know your body. Take care of your body. Eat Right. Get Exercise.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror. If something looks different, get to a doctor right away. It is always better to get checked.

Advice for women includes:

  • A clinical breast exam should take 10-15 minutes. Mammograms should be done every year.
  • Conduct breast exams seven-10 days after the start of your cycle.

For more information on the topic of breast cancer or volunteering, the following resources are available:

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