Airmen take to the streets for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Airman 1st Class Ciara M. Travis
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

October marks a month most Airmen know from various survivor stories. But the truth is, Breast Cancer Awareness Month probably has either affected or will affect someone you know personally during your Air Force career.

According to the website, “One in eight women in the United States (12 percent) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.” This means nearly 8,000 of the Air Force’s 62,598 females may honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month for personal reasons during her lifetime.

Each year, more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed and more than 40,000 will succumb to their battle with breast cancer. Women are not alone in this battle. While the numbers are low for men, officials note there is still a possibility of getting breast cancer.

In honor of the month, Ramstein’s 86th Medical Group will be hosting its annual 5K fun run/walk today at the 435th Construction Training Site on Ramstein.
Each year, military members, Department of Defense civilians and dependents come together dressed in pink gear to show support for those who are currently battling or who have lost their battle with breast cancer.

“What better way to get involved than to show your support through a fun run,” said Capt. Shamana Stevens, 86th Aerospace Medical Squadron flight medicine element leader. “We need as much support as possible.”

Stevens said that though it’s important to be aware of the risks, it’s also important to remain vigilant by doing self-breast examinations at least once per month.

“The greatest value in performing self inspections would be to familiarize yourself with what is normal for your breast tissue and what is not,” Stevens said. “When you are familiar with your tissue, it makes it easier to recognize abnormalities. Once any changes are noted, you should report them to your physician.”

The American Cancer Society recommends women in their 20s and 30s have a physical breast exam as part of a regular health exam by a health professional, preferably every three years. After the age of 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year. Twenty percent of all breast cancers are found during a physical exam, not the mammogram.

The run is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. today. Top male and female runners will receive prizes. Also, there will be a prize for the most creatively dressed and most “pink team of five.” The first 100 registered will receive a free T-shirt. There is no cost to participate in the event.

To register, send your name (first and last), age, squadron or work site, contact e-mail, and emergency contact name/number to

Volunteers are also needed as spotters and for set up, tear down and registration. Those interested in volunteering should call 479-2022.