The Drive for the Cure Foundation hosted the annual Pink Tea lunch on Saturday to pay tribute to women who have battled breast cancer.
This year’s Spirit of Advocacy Award was given to Denise Bowen, a board member who passed away earlier this year.
“It basically brings attention to and appreciation for these women who have gone through this struggle and offers them some support for each other as well, and then remember those who have not survived,” said Hannah Caulfield, an oncoplastic surgeon at the Portneuf Medical Center.
Breast cancer affects one in eight women, but thanks to advances in medicine, 90 percent of women who are diagnosed will survive after five years.
However, surviving breast cancer comes with new challenges.
Caulfield is one of three oncoplastic surgeons at PMC. Oncoplastic surgery uses the latest plastic surgery techniques to minimize the lasting effects of cancer related surgeries.
“The idea is to minimize cosmetic changes to the breast, so minimize scarring, and if possible, improve the appearance of the breast even with breast reductions, breast lifts, things like that. That way, we can combine the cancer operation and breast reconstructions after mastectomies,” Caulfield said.
She said this type of surgery can be very important for women’s post-surgery mental health, because breasts are often associated with women’s femininity.
“The idea is that we’re minimizing the scars that they then have to live the rest of their lives with, so that every time they look in the mirror, they’re not having constant reminders that they had to go through this, and they can go through the rest of their lives feeling like a whole woman,” Caulfield said.
The money raised at the Pink Tea luncheon will be used to provide mammograms and breast cancer screenings to Idahoans.
Idaho typically ranks as one of the last states in the nation for breast cancer screenings.