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Coffeepot Chatter

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Maria is posting a flyer on the bulletin board while Tom heats up soup in the microwave.

Tom: Oh, hey Maria, what’s that you’re posting?

Maria: It’s a reminder about the Wellness Program’s annual Blue Jeans Bash day. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Lehigh employees who contribute $5 to breast cancer research can then wear jeans to work on the last Friday of October.

Tom: That sounds fun. Can men do it too?

Maria: Of course! You’d be helping the women in your life, but also maybe yourself. Did you know that men can develop breast cancer as well?

Tom: Really?

Maria: Yes. While women account for the majority of breast cancer cases, men are also vulnerable to the disease.

Tom: Wow, I had no idea.

Maria: Well, if you want to join in the Blue Jean Bash, you can download the flyer from the HR website. It’s a small way we can all take part in the search for causes, treatments and hopefully, one day, a cure.

Tom: Thanks, now I just have to decide which jeans I’m going to wear. Hmmm…acid wash maybe?

Beyond Pink: Breast Cancer in Men

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We often find ourselves awash in pink at this time of the year, but that doesn’t mean that men are immune. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2012:

  • About 2,190 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men
  • About 410 men will die from breast cancer
  • Breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. The number of breast cancer cases in men relative to the population has been fairly stable over the last 30 years.
The outlook for men with breast cancer was once thought to be worse than that for women; but recent studies have not found this to be true. In fact, men and women with the same stage of breast cancer have a fairly similar outlook for survival.

Advances In Breast Cancer Research

The American Cancer Society’s website features a section highlighting what’s new in breast cancer research. Support for breast cancer research goes into a variety of areas, including developing better diagnostic tools and treatments; understanding what causes the disease; and the search for a cure or multiple cures. Recent highlights include:

  • A large scale study to find the causes of breast cancer is taking place with 50,000 women who have sisters with breast cancer. You can learn more about the Sister Study at their website –
  • Research into gene expression is helping scientists link certain gene patterns with more aggressive forms of breast cancer which could help with earlier diagnosis and treatment
  • Several newer forms of imaging are now being studied to improve upon current mammogram technology
  • New chemotherapy drugs, better targeted radiation therapy, and other treatments are in development that hold promise for improved outcomes.

Blue Jean Bash is a fun way to help support these and other breakthroughs in the fight against breast cancer. To participate, download the form from the HR website and return it with your $5 donation to Mary Jo McNulty, Human Resources, 428 Brodhead Avenue by Friday, October 19, 2012.

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Spotlight is published monthly by Human Resources. Please address any comments to Hillary Kwiatek, Spotlight Editor, Human Resources, 428 Brodhead Avenue, send email to, or call extension 85165.

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