By Tania Brown
You’re a Gladiator in a Suit, and you may be juggling kids, activities, a career and maybe a spouse but becoming proactive about breast cancer awareness can mean the difference between life and death.
I’m very passionate about breast cancer awareness and prevention because my mother survived it twice; in the 80s when I was a toddler and she survived it again in 2010. It’s very important that as women, specifically women of color, that we are informed about breast cancer and aware of our bodies.
A recent report published by CBS News indicates that 232,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer just this year alone and more than 39,000 women are expected to die this year from the disease. Black women are less likely to survive a breast cancer diagnosis because we undergo fewer screenings. Our follow-up and treatment rates are low and we have the highest death rates of all ethnic groups. As with many diseases, socioeconomic status plays a role in prevention, detection and treatment.
African American women are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than other ethnic group, so here are few things we all can do to put a dent in those dismal statistics.
Eat healthy and exercise. Avoid obesity. A healthy diet and activity level helps in prevention of not just breast cancer but other diseases such as hypertension, and diabetes. Embrace a diet that is high is vegetables and fruits and reduce your intake of sugary drinks and fried fatty foods. Eat more whole grains.
A monthly self-exam of your breasts should be part of your routine. If you’re over 40 or at risk, you should have an annual mammogram. Keep those appointments with your doctor for your yearly pap exam where your doctor will complete a breast exam as well.
Don’t wait until pain or problems become unbearable before you see a physician. If something is ailing you, if there is an unexplained lump or change in your body, see a doctor immediately.
Understand your risk. Some breast cancers are inherited; once you know your risk--- become educated and ask your doctor what you can do to lower your risk.
Open enrollment began this week for the Affordable Care Act providing healthcare which provides mammograms for women who are 40 and older and genetic counseling for women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer. You can also be insured for pre-existing conditions. You don’t have to be embarrassed or ashamed to seek and receive treatment. There is nothing wrong with being the Superwoman that you are, but you can’t be that gladiator in a suit if you don’t take care of your most valuable asset--- Y-O-U.
Tania @TanicoleB and @BougiePolitics
Tania Brown is the creator and editor of www.politicallybougie.com and former Digital Media Lead for Obama 2012 in Alabama. Follow Tania on Twitter @TaNicoleB.
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