October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, as such, pink is everywhere. Organizations like the Links, TV One and Essence Magazine are doing their part to raise awareness, but still every 69 seconds a woman dies of breast cancer somewhere in the world.
What does that have to do with African Americans? Percentagewise, the incidence of new breast cancer cases is approximately the same across the board. But the survival rate of African American women with the disease is almost the lowest of any ethnicity. The global leader in the movement to end breast cancer, Susan G. Komen For The Cure, has launched a campaigned specifically for this hard-hit demographic.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure ® Circle of Promise is a campaign to engage, educate and empower African American women by dispelling the myths, exposing the risks and encouraging screenings. Mammograms, clinical exams and “breast self awareness” are all areas that need improvement. Myths surrounding family history, breast size, choice of bra and hygienic toiletries can sometimes inhibit African American women from getting the recommended annual exams. By sharing the numbers of new diagnoses and deaths each year in the community, Circle of Promise hopes to change the status quo.
Global Ambassadors like Gabrielle Union and LisaRaye McCoy, who have been touched by the disease, are stomping for Circle of Promise and signing up people to be ambassadors for the cause. Komen believes that arming everyday people with information about breast cancer and the support available will ultimately open dialogue within the African American community and thus raise the survival rate of African Americans with breast cancer.
For more statistics about African Americans and breast cancer or to become an ambassador, visit www.CircleOfPromise.org. And for more ideas for how you can help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research, visit www.PassionatelyPink.org.