October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Imagine finding a lump or discoloration on your breast that was not there two months before. Then imagine being told by your doctor that the lump is cancerous. Now you are in the fight of your life at the age of 40.
A diagnosis of Breast Cancer is one of the most frightening situations a person can be in. While men and women can both be victims of Breast Cancer, women are affected more often. For many, a diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence but with early detection and new treatment options available, the survival rate of breast cancer has increased. How does Breast Cancer affect women of color? Black and Latina women have higher mortality rates than White women because we are often diagnosed with the disease is more advanced. Stage 3 or 4 cancer has spread to other parts of the body and treatment may be less effective.
It is important to educate yourself on the correct way to perform self-examinations and be up to date with mammograms. Black and Latina women are frequently diagnosed at a younger age than white women. Women who have a family history of breast cancer can also be tested for the BRACA gene. The BRACA gene test examines DNA for abnormal mutations which indicate a higher risk for breast cancer. Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is also recommended for women with a familial history earlier than 40.