Every single day I hear people say, “Don’t eat that, it gives you cancer,” but not once have I ever considered giving up something I like because of this advice. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1,500 people die each day of cancer, and I highly doubt that all of these deaths were caused by the over-consumption of sweet stuff in the blue package or any other artificial food. Sadly, whether or not you’re conscious of all foods purported to cause cancer, there are other factors, including genes and environmental irritants, which we can’t control.

In light of October’s designation as Breast Cancer Awareness month, there have been countless advertisements in magazines, newspapers, TV commercials and numerous products specifically marketed for the cause. The purpose of the products and advertisements is to raise awareness and invite the country to support the fight against cancer.

As college students, our interactions with the outside world can be somewhat limited during our stay inside the UR bubble. Luckily, Colleges Against Cancer is an organization on campus that allows students to support and participate in the programs of the ACS.

CAC strives to combine efforts with the ACS to aid in ultimately eliminating cancer. The group works to spread cancer awareness to our campus through cancer education. CAC focuses on advocacy opportunities; they work with the college community to support survivorship in the area through different programs as well as volunteer opportunities. One of the better known and widely attended activities they plan is Relay For Life, occuring in the spring.

“Cancer touches the lives of most college students in one way or another, and CAC provides the opportunity to take an active role in fighting cancer,” CAC President and senior Jen Greenman said.

The organization has lined up several different activities for the month. The group had a table in Wilson Commons before the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk, which was during the first week in October. Coming up for another week, the group will be having a make-your-own breast cancer awareness ribbon station at the table so that people can stop by and make a ribbon to show their support on campus. Information on early breast cancer detection and general facts on breast cancer will be given out at the table.

The group’s final activity planned for the month is a project for children at Golisano Children’s Hospital. At the next general CAC meeting on Oct. 29, group members will be making Halloween cards, letters and candy bags for children who are patients at the hospital.

“It’s wonderful to let the children know that people are thinking of them and want them to enjoy special days even when they are in the hospital,” Greenman said.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease. According to the American Cancer Society, 564,830 Americans are expected to die of cancer this year.

Although October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is only one month that focuses on cancer, and this disease exists outside of October. You may see dozens of celebrities doing TV commercials to support the cause, and every store you go into may have special pink products, but just remember that even when the commercials stop airing after October, it doesn’t go away.

CAC is organizing a Relay For Life on April 20 in the Webster Field House. This is an overnight event that aims to celebrate cancer survivorship as well as raise money for cancer research and the programs that are run by the ACS. Students will have the opportunity to form teams and raise money. At the event they will take turns walking or running laps.

“Cancer never sleeps, so for one night, neither will we while we contribute to the fight,” Greenman said.

Weintraub is a member of the class of 2008.

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