Health Check: Pink ladies at CCRI help breast cancer patients, survivors

Some dental hygiene students at CCRI have partnered with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation to put some smiles on the faces of cancer patients and survivors.

There are 22 senior dental hygiene students at CCRI in Lincoln.

"As a group, we were selected to wear pink uniforms," said Sue Fernandes.

And that's how they became the pink ladies.

They turned that into a mission, partnering with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation to provide non-invasive procedures for women and men who are newly diagnosed, going through treatment or cancer survivors.

Jacqueline Hattoy is a breast cancer survivor.

"I discovered the lump myself," Hattoy said.

That was three years ago. As a result, she had a lumpectomy and months of treatments.

"Over 15 months of treatments, chemotherapy. And I'm now cancer-free," Hattoy said.

She recently received the royal treatment at CCRI's dental hygiene clinic.

"It's devastating to get that diagnosis and you're not really thinking about your teeth," Fernandes said.

But the dental hygiene students at CCRI are thinking about your dental health. They held fundraisers. The class of 2014 raised $600 to pay for dental tray materials and fluoride.

"It's great for any patient being treated for cancer, any high-risk patient," said Sarah Guthrie, CCRI dental hygiene class president.

Guthrie explained to Hattoy why the trays are so important to breast cancer patients and survivors.

"When you have dry mouth your saliva acts as a buffer against acids that are formed from sugars and bacteria in your mouth. And if you don't have that buffer you increase your risk for cavities and that is why we make the fluoride trays," she said.

The custom molded trays come in a pink case along with a bag of oral hygiene goodies the pink ladies got donated.

"This is going to help a lot of breast cancer patients and survivors," Hattoy said.