Women’s tea focuses on health

To celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month FAMU’s Sisters Alive, sponsored Purple Tea, a breast and cervical cancer awareness seminar. The seminar was held Oct. 25 in the Rattlers’ Den and was co-sponsored by, The Bethel Family Life Center Inc., the Florida Department of Health, Meaningful Acts for the Community, the American Cancer Society Inc.

Purple Tea is an awareness program that provides educational information on the prevention and early detection of breast cancer. Sisters Alive started the program because the disease is affecting and killing black women at higher rates than white women.

“We really didn’t see too much of anyone promoting awareness month,” said host Alana Hill, a sophomore public relations student from Miami. “We wanted to do something special. Students need to know how to protect themselves.”

The title “Purple Tea” was chosen because purple is the color of royalty, said coordinator Polly Spears of Bethel Family Life Center.

Sheila Jeffers, one of the speakers and a FAMU faculty member, said if women have breast cancer in their families, it is good to do research.

Although male students didn’t attend, speakers said men can also get breast cancer, though it is rare. Montel Williams and Richard Roundtree (“Shaft”) are just a few black men with the disease.

Spears said black women should become familiar with their breasts so they will notice changes in them.

Even though most women affected by breast cancer are age 40 and over, the disease can still affect young women.

A mammogram should be done annually beginning at the age of 40, but FAMU students can do self-breast exams monthly beginning at 20.

At the seminar, Spears gave a self-breast exam demonstration, including a “triple touch” presentation, explaining what to look for.

Jeffers said, “One way to learn something about your body is by using fingers.”

She told seminar attendees “if your boyfriend is feeling on your breasts all the time, tell them to let you know if they feel something different.”

Jeffers said men touch women’s breasts in a different way than women touch themselves.

At the seminar, the advocates provided students with pamphlets and cards with breast and cervical cancer information.

FAMU students should not be afraid of breast cancer; they need to be aware of it. “The biggest risk for females is that you’re a female,” Jeffers and Spears said.

Jeffers said, “You can survive it. It’s your job to really get involved and care about it. This is killing black women. If you choose to be an advocate, choose something that may affect you.”