Campus colored pink

Youngstown State University celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Photo by Elizabeth Coss / The Jambar

By Shianna Gibbons 

October is recognized by the color pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Youngstown State University and medical centers near the campus spread awareness and raised money to help facilitate a need for cancer-screening services.

According to, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is meant to share awareness for women to get regular screenings for early detection and prevention. One out of eight women in the United States, and around 2.3 million women worldwide, are affected.

Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center, located in St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, provides breast and chest screenings, raises awareness and provides other services. Laura Boomhower, manager of the oncology service line, said Joanie Abdu is dedicated to providing the best services for women.

“We’re committed to providing women with personalized, comprehensive breast care,” Boomhower said. “Part of our mission – our screening services – we use the most advanced technology, and we try to exceed the national standards for patient care and provide rapid results so we can reduce anxiety for women.”

Boomhower said Breast Cancer Awareness Month is important because early detection is key to catching breast cancer sooner and will allow for quicker treatment and better outcomes.

“Forty [years old] is the age we’d like to start doing dynamic screening mammograms,” Boomhower said. “Around the age of 20, women should start self-breast exams if there is a family history [of] breast cancer. [Women] will want to speak to their physician about getting checked earlier depending on when a mother or grandmother was diagnosed.” 

Penny the Penguin
Photo by Shianna Gibbons / The Jambar

The Joanie Abdu Center serves all women, no matter the current insurance policy.

“We accept both [women with and without insurance],” Boomhower said. “We also have a program called Joanie’s Promise that provides mammograms and radiology that would be needed for women, and it’s based on family income and household size, as well as other programs for uninsured people.” 

Kaitlyn Helt, a junior majoring in business administration, is an event lead for Guins Against Cancer. The student organization is connected to and raises money for the American Cancer Society. Guins Against Cancer is holding events in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“[On Oct. 18], we are going to have Pete and Penny walk around campus in a bra,” Helt said. “This raises general awareness about breast cancer and helps raise funds. Generally, people will put money in the bra.”

The event was held last year and raised over $100, but Helt said she’s hoping to raise around $200 this year. Helt said Guins Against Cancer has more events planned.

“We’re going to go and hang pink ribbons on trees around campus,” Helt said. “We are also going to reach out to women and see if we can feature them on our Instagram for this month.”

While breast cancer is more common in women, it can also affect men. In 2021, President Joe Biden designated Oct. 17 to Oct. 23 as Men’s Breast Cancer Awareness Week to promote regular screening and combat the stigma surrounding breast cancer in men. 

According to, over 2,000 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is referred to as chest cancer for men, transgender men and nonbinary-identifying people to be more inclusive.

Boomhower said the Joanie Abdu Center provides services for men as well. 

“A lot of times when a man comes in, they usually feel something there already,” Boomhower said. “So, we’ll do either a diagnostic type of mammogram or an ultrasound.”

For more information about services provided by Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center, visit its website.