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Burton High Stories: Cancer

Brianna Rivas, a senior at Burton High School
Brianna Rivas, a senior at Burton High School

Students studying health sciences at Phillip and Sala Burton Academic High School in San Francisco worked with KALW radio to share their perspectives on health issues and solutions. Cancer is personal for Brianna Rivas, a senior at Burton High School, because of a family history tied to cancer. Brianna decided to explore cancer among women in Chicago.

My name is Brianna Rivas. I'm a 12th grader at Burton High School and my topic is cancer, specifically cancer among women in Chicago.

Cancer is a disease caused by abnormal cells in a part of the body. One of the main reasons people get cancer is genetics, which is the reason why my family has had it over the past years. My topic is personal to me because my aunts have developed many different types of cancer over the years. My aunts both developed cancer during their 40’s and 50’s. We have noticed that age range is a susceptible time for cancer to appear.

Research shows the average rate of all forms and stages of cancer in Chicago is 465.2 of all cancer stages. The estimated death rates in the year 2023 are 23,380. These numbers break my heart because it shows how much it has impacted people. I would like this health issue to have more attention brought to it. It has impacted me too because I found out when I was much younger and I wasn't sure how I should have reacted or talked about it, but to my mother it wasn't the first time one of her sisters had cancer, it was a normal, usual thing for her now. I wanna make a radio show to bring awareness about this topic, for those who struggle about it mentally and physically to support all types of cancers in our local community, which is chicago. I like to thank those who do help patients with cancer feel better and feel like there's another chance. Because just like my aunts have lived to see another day, I would like for others around the city to feel the same way as to think about cancer in a way you will feel ok.

Cancer has impacted the lives of my aunts from in to out. It impacts their emotions, expressions, feelings, and even how they look. It has affected others around the world and our family because we can never be sure what would be the outcome.