It’s all about PINK in October

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Teresa A. Klein

Sweet Medical Women’s Boutique and Specialty Medical Supplies has served Antioch and the surrounding area for nearly 20 years. Having moved to a new, spacious location at 4615 Golf Course Avenue at the corner of Lone Tree Way and Golf Course, owner Sandra Gama chose to add a Women’s Boutique to her store to serve the needs of the community.

Gama has been a long-time advocate for breast cancer awareness and early detection, promoting it in and out of her store. “We’re all about Pink,” says Gama. Although October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Sweet Medicals’ busiest time of the year, Sweet Medical’s Women’s Boutique is a year-round business.

Following skin cancer, breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer and is also the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women, behind lung. “The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is a little less 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35,” according to the American Cancer Society.

According to the American Cancer Society’s web site, in 2011:
• About 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women
• About 57,650 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be found (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
• About 39,520 deaths from breast cancer (women)

Although numbers of women (and men) getting breast cancer continue to rise, ACS says, “Thanks to improvements in treatment and early detection millions of women are surviving breast cancer today.”

Sandra and her sister Bernice are certified to fit breast forms and specialty garments. Both have taken many courses and keep themselves educated about the industry so they can provide the best service for their patients. Sweet Medical has private treatment rooms to meet with patients.
The Women’s Boutique features Amoena, a leading brand of silicone breast forms and specialty designed post-mastectomy lingerie, swimwear and loungewear. In addition, the boutique includes accessories such as jewelry, purses, hats, scarves, head wraps, and books.

“Being in the field we are in awe of how non-discriminating breast cancer is. Breast cancer doesn’t kill you if you catch it in time. Early detection is the key,” says Gama.

Through Gama’s work at Sweet Medical and with patients at hospitals she has heard many excuses why people do not do breast self exams or get mammograms. “I’m too young,” “It’s not in my family,” and “I’m a man” top the list. Gama says we [the public] say we are too busy or we will do it later, but we need to take the time to be proactive.

To help build awareness, Sweet Medical is holding a breast cancer informational session from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, October 17th. Sweet Medical holds these sessions monthly on the third Monday, inviting other local businesses to come and share their knowledge and a wide variety of health topics with the public. This is held free of charge and includes food, and drinks, and sometimes raffles. “It’s a way to get to know each other as a community,” she says.

Sweet Medical is open M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information call 925-779-0207 or go to

For more information on breast cancer, what it is, tests to detect it, and treatment options, you may call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday- Friday from 5 a.m.-5 p.m., Antioch time. The NCI’s LiveHelp online chat service provides Internet users with the ability to chat online with an Information Specialist. The service is available from 5 a.m.-8 p.m. Antioch time, Monday – Friday.; also its web site at

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