October marks breast cancer awareness month.

Breast cancer was detected as early as 1600 B.C. In the 1920s, there was little to no scholarship on breast cancer and how it affected our communities, yet African American women were dying from it.

In 2009, over 3,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. What does this fact have to do with you? It could be your aunt, cousin, grandmother, or even you eventually infected with the disease.

According to American Cancer Society breast cancer is defined as a malignant tumor that starts from cells of the breast. Everyone has cancerous cells, but there are certain catalysts that force them to activate. It is up to you to get tested.

Approximately 1.3 million women will be diagnosed anually with breast cancer worldwide and about 465,000 will die from the disease. Breast cancer is becoming more prominent in the lives of young female African Americans due to hereditary genes, life style choices, and higher levels of estrogen. Incidence is highest for Caucasian women however; African American women have the highest mortality rate.

Up until 50 years ago, you would need to receive third and fourth opinions due to the lack of knowledge that preceded the African American community.

I had no recollection of its history myself until it hit home. In 2005, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was not until then that I began to care about the disease and its effects. It should not take someone elses struggle for us to recognize that breast cancer is affecting the African American female community. Early detection is better than no detection at all, so take the necessary steps to get tested for breast cancer.

Rest Peacefully Aunts.

-Damaris Dunn

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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