A lot of myths exist about breast cancer, but the only truth is anyone with breasts is at risk, regardless of age, gender or race.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Young Women’s Council held a Breast Cancer seminar Wednesday to increase awareness and encourage prevention.
“Young women just don’t take this seriously,” said Braeah Venters, 21, a third-year secondary education student from Tampa.
Venters, who is also a member of Young Women’s Council, organized the event.
“We talked with girls that said their mother or grandmother had it, but they still don’t think it can happen to them.”
According to the American Cancer Society, 95 percent of breast cancer cases occur in women ages 40 and over.
However, black women suffer from breast cancer at a much higher rate than women of other races.
Understanding Your Health, a statistical overview of issues in American Health, reports that blacks account for 36 percent of deaths from breast cancer.
“Because early detection is the key to breast cancer survival, now is the time to start educating our young women about breast cancer and monthly breast self-exam,” said Harriette Hudson, the seminar’s speaker.
Hudson is an educator for Sisters Alive, a group within the American Cancer Society dedicated to educating black women about breast cancer.
“African-American women put everybody on their list of things to take care of, but taking care of ourselves does not even make the list,” Hudson said. “We have to get into the habit of taking care of ourselves now to turn those numbers around.”
Breast cancer has been linked to family and reproductive history. Women who have relatives with breast cancer, have children after the age of 30 or started their menstrual cycle before age 12 are at a higher risk for breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
“But if no one in your family had breast cancer, that does not mean you cannot get it,” Hudson said. “It had to start somewhere.”
“You have to assume some responsibility for your health,” Hudson said.
“You can go to the doctor, but that is not enough because they primarily need your feedback. Your doctor or anyone should not know your body better than you.”
All women over 40 should have a monthly mammogram, but all women should perform the monthly breast self-exam to detect any abnormalities early, Hudson said.
Clinical exams should also be performed by a physician during a physical.
For more information from the American Cancer Society about breast cancer, visit their Web site at www.cancer.org.