Breast Cancer Awareness

To all women of all races:

October is a very important month for all women but those in particular with breast cancer, not only for the fight for a cure but a fight for defeat of this life-threatening disease. Breast cancer the second most common cancer in women in the United States and one out of eight women develop breast cancer. There are 200,000 new cases of breast cancer every year and 40,000 deaths associated with that number as well.

Age, family history (hereditary), or personal history (diet, exposure to chest radiation, early menstruation, late menopause, hormone replacement therapy, pregnancy after age of 35). Thought breast cancer is most common in Caucasian women it has a higher rate of development in women over 50 and higher death rate of the African American women such as myself. However breast cancer is more severe in the Hispanic race due to poverty, no insurance and low screening participation which makes 38% of Hispanic women over the age of 40 more susceptible to abnormal mammogram in the early and late stages of breast cancer before clinical symptoms are noticed. Though breast cancer is in the lower rates of development in the Hispanic community (69,8 out of 100,000) compared to non-Hispanic/White/African American women (111.8 and 95.4) beat cancer, making this type of cancer the leading cause of death for Hispanic women. The survival of non-White women with breast cancer as opposed to Hispanic is 85% to 76%.

It is very crucial that breast cancer is taken seriously due to the case that families all over the world become incomplete due to a loss of a loved one such as a mother, grandmother, sister, friend, or even a daughter.

There is still a search for a cure but for the most part women have endured loss of their breasts, had to endure chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Women between the ages of 20 and 39 should do self examinations which should be done a week before or after menstruation due to swelling; as well as physical examinations performed by physician. However, women over the age of 40 should have a mammogram done to determine any early abnormal cell growth or be tested for the 1(BRCA1) and 2(BRCA2) gene which is a cause to breast cancer.

To conclude to self examinations which I strongly advise been done monthly for women from the age of 20 and 39, which may result in a notice of an abnormal lump, blood/discharge from nipple area, breast/nipple pain, swelling in underarm/lower breast area. Women that do find these symptoms should inform their family doctor of these findings and for  any further information on breast cancer or worries be answered by your doctor.

As a strong African American woman and doctor, I support my patients whether a minority, non-White, African American, Caucasian or Hispanic to ask for information on breast cancer and do my part in helping in the fight, prevention and awareness of this disease. In my passion to help but in my heart to stand by my fellow women in unity. My heart stays pink, my staff and I wear pink and as one we promote the fight for breast cancer at my office, Roya Family Medical Center, and know that if you are uninsured and in poverty there are ways the community can help, as well as breast cancer hotlines, support groups, websites and clinics that will alwats help and provide free physical breast examinations and support in helping our fellow women.”

Michelle J. Alexandre, MD