Texas VA employees wear pink to raise awareness


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HARLINGEN, Texas —  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and VA employees, interns and volunteers were encouraged to wear pink on October 17 to support both females and males who have experienced breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a worldwide annual campaign involving thousands of organizations, to highlight the importance of breast cancer awareness, education and research.

“It feels wonderful to see so many people wear pink to show their support for breast cancer awareness because it a great way to remind people to get that important breast exam that can catch the cancer in its early stage and save their life,” said Martha Aguilar, a VA medical support assistant, who proudly displayed her pink ensemble, which featured a light pink shirt with a glittering pink ribbon with the word “Courage” embossed next to it.

The VA leads the nation in breast cancer screening. VA provides a higher percentage of mammograms to the women who need them than any other health service in the country, including the private sector.

Breast cancer screenings are important. It’s the best way to detect cancer early, and when localized breast cancer is discovered early, it has a 99 percent survival rate. VA encourages all women between ages 50 and 75 to get mammograms every two years.

VA employees Martha Aguilar, a breast cancer survivor, and Clara Rodriguez, a registered nurse, pose for a photo wearing different pink garments on October 17, 2018, at the VA Health Care Center at Harlingen,Texas, in observance of this year's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

With the word “Courage” proudly displayed across her light pink t-shirt VA medical support assistant and breast cancer survivor, Martha Aguilar, poses for a photo with fellow VA employee, Clara Rodriguez, a registered nurse, who together helped raise awareness about breast cancer on October 17, 2018, at the VA Health Care Center at Harlingen,Texas. (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs photo by Luis H. Loza Gutierrez)

If a health care provider recommends a mammogram outside of that age range, VA will still provide it. Individuals should explore the risk with their health care team – they can help determine when a person should start receiving mammograms and how they can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, following lung cancer. Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.

Reducing one’s risk and increase their chances of survival can start by talking with their health care provider about how.

For more information click here or use the link below to learn more about breast cancer awareness.

https://www.womenshealth.va.gov/outreachmaterials/generalhealthandwellness/breast_cancer_awareness.asp

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Author

Luis Loza Gutierrez

Luis H. Loza Gutierrez joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in October of 2017 and serves as a public affairs specialist for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System.

In addition to winning multiple awards as a writer, photographer, illustrator and graphic artist during his more than 10 years in the U.S. Air Force as a public affairs specialist and photojournalist, L.G. (as he was called by his fellow Airmen) also served as a member for the Air Force Honor Guard at the base-level during his last permanent-duty station in North Dakota.

He volunteered to deploy out of cycle twice in a period of less 18 months, the second of which included a six-month tour as a member of the public affairs team at USF-I Headquarters at Camp Victory in Baghdad.

The now retired non-commissioned officer returned home to the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas in November of 2015, and feels enthusiastic and honored to continue to serve his fellow brothers- and sisters-in-arms as a member of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

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