Don’t Let October Pass You By – Check Your Breasts

women with breast cancer awareness ribbonLadies, October is breast cancer awareness month. It’s more than a reason to pull out your pink gear and ribbons. Let’s get serious about breasts. Gentlemen, you too! While its occurrence is more rare, breast cancer does occur in men. But also, it’s a time to support the women in your life.

Pink has come to symbolize the color of breast cancer through the years. Companies take some of their most popular products and color them pink in solidarity and to raise money to fund research. Some feel that the pink ribbon and color has become so commercialized that the real message of this month has been lost. That message is to protect your breast! When caught early through regular self-exams and mammograms breast cancer is very treatable and beatable. Some types of breast cancer can grow and spread very rapidly with almost no time for early detection. There are different types of breast cancer and the treatment varies for each. One thing remains the same regardless – check your breasts through regular doctor appointments, mammograms and a healthy lifestyle.

The famed actress Angelina Jolie made the headlines when she went public with her decision to preemptively have her breasts removed given her family’s history breast cancer. Her mother and aunt succumbed to ovarian and breast cancer respectively. Famous people aren’t the only ones making the decision to strike first. Thousands of women across the country who have either tested positive for the BRCA gene or lost an immediate maternal family member to the disease have decided to take their fate into their own hands.

This month the New Black Chick will be exploring various issues around breast cancer and Black women. Though October is breast cancer awareness month that is no reason to forget about it come November 1st. It’s like Christmas, you should hold it in your heart all year around. While the rate of breast cancer deaths have decreased overall, Black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than White women. This is largely due to quick diagnosis and subsequent access to treatment. According to the American Cancer Society 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer while 1 in 36 will die. Black women and White women are diagnosed at similar rates but given media images about the “face” of the disease it’s also possible that many Black women consider it a White woman’s disease and aren’t managing their risk.

Breast cancer doesn’t just strike White women or older women, or just women for that matter. It effects us all. So let’s all talk about it and fight against it.

As for me, I would like to dedicate this month to my aunt Diane, my aunt Helen, and to all who have fought no matter the outcome.  Who are you dedicating this month to?


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