|Q: Can it happen to me?
A: Yes! Many African American women assume breast cancer is relegated only to white women. Although it is true that not as many African American women are diagnosed with breast cancer, twice as many African American women as white women die from the disease. The latest statistics show that, since 1989, over all deaths from breast cancer are down 5%. However, in the African American female population, the death rate is up 2.6%.Q: Are breast self-examinations actually necessary?
A: Yes! It only takes 15 minutes to perform a self-examination, but it can actually save your life. Many women find their own lumps by doing a breast self-exam.Q: Should I simply rely on my doctor to determine my treatment?
A: No! If you have breast cancer, It is important that you empower yourself by learning as much as possible about the surgical procedure or treatment you physician has scheduled for you. The more you know the better off you will be in making choices that could affect the rest of your life.
Q: Doesn’t Breast Cancer normally occur in women over 40?
A: No! Although some medical institutions say you should wait until you are 40 years old to have a mammogram, many African American women develop breast cancer much earlier. Some have been diagnosed with the disease in their early 20s.
Q: Are there exceptions to the rule?
A: Yes! Just because you don’t fit into a “high risk” category for breast cancer, does not mean you can’t get it. In fact, 75% of the women who get breast cancer don’t necessarily fit the high risk profile.
Q: Can men have breast cancer?
A: Yes! Your fathers, husbands, brothers and sons are also subject to breast cancer. In fact, one percent of those diagnosed with breast cancer are male.
Q: Will I automatically die if I’m diagnosed with breast cancer?
A: No! Early detection is the key. Once you find a lump, you should seek medical attention immediately. Some cancers are fast growing, which means waiting could cost you your life.
Q: How will being diagnosed with breast cancer affect me as a woman?
A: Breasts are organs. They are part of your body but they do not determine your womanhood. The loss of one or both breast makes you no less feminine…don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Q: How will having a mastectomy affect my sex life?
A: Some women have said that chemotherapy changed their desire for sex. However, not all women who have breast cancer need chemotherapy. Many women have normal sex lives after breast cancer and its treatment.
Q: What is the most important thing I should know?
A: Life goes on after breast cancer. Everything that was, still is. For the most part, many women feel empowered and energized after overcoming breast cancer. It is almost like being immortalized, but left here to do a great deed. You have conquered the big “C” and nothing else can stop you. Now, you can go ahead and Celebrate Life!
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