Early Detection is the Best Prevention

Dignity Health St. John’s Hospital visits Oxnard High School students to spread awareness of Breast Cancer and HPV

Lead Educator at Dignity Health St. John's Hospital, Amanda Tamburro holds a presentation of HPV.

Edith Gallardo

Lead Educator at Dignity Health St. John’s Hospital, Amanda Tamburro holds a presentation of HPV.

Imani Roberts and Edith Gallardo

On October 8th, 2014, Dignity Health St. John’s Hospital Lead Educator, Amanda Tamburro and Oncology Nurse Practitioner Alicia Zaragoza spoke at Oxnard High School’s Performing Art Center about breast cancer and HPV event.  Senior Jennifer Rosas said, “I thought it was very…good…some girls don’t know how to check themselves for all of those things.”

Though, few classes had the opportunity to attend the event and inform themselves about Breast Cancer and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Tamburro stated “my feeling towards breast cancer is that it’s a disease that is affecting women, younger and younger and everyone thinks it can’t happen to them.” She also said that “the younger you get cancer, typically, the more aggressive because we get younger and the blood is flowing and you are not old, your hormones are moving, and everything is alive.”

Zaragoza said that people who are at the most risk of breast cancer are women over the age of 50, with a family history of breast cancer, or one who takes hormonal replacement therapy. Yet, one can prevent this cancer by “[giving themselves] self-breast exams, know your body and when something has changed, get routine exams by your doctor, maintain a healthy weight in diet throughout life, [and] exercise at least 3 times a week.”

Those who are at risk of getting HPV “[have] multiple partners and skin-to-skin contact,” said Tamburro. She advised that “you can think before you act, [and] think about what you’re doing with who. You can get the vaccine, but the vaccine will only help you not get the HPV that causes cervical cancer. It will not protect you against the rest of the HPVs out there.”

Some students who went to the assembly felt that it was very beneficial. “I think it was a good idea that we did that because people are more aware of what’s going on and why you have to stay informed, and take good care of yourself, and stay protected,” said senior Megan Peterson.

In addition, fairly many students have family members that have been affected by breast cancer. Rosas stated that the night of the assembly, she gave the flyers to her mom, “she’s forty-something and she still hasn’t done her mammogram so maybe that may encourage her to go do it.”

Also, sophomore Daisy Delgado said “one of my aunts have breast cancer. Before, I didn’t really pay too much attention to it and now that I’ve learned about it…I know what she went through, all the pain and everything.”

Zaragoza advises people not be afraid of speaking up and medically reviewed. Also, Tamburro suggests to “be smart about what you do. You’re so young…make good decisions because if you make one bad decision it can impact you for the rest of your life, and you have your whole life ahead of you.”