Since our inception in 1990, Black women continue to be diagnosed with aggressive, early onset, late stage breast cancers that result in reduced survival rates. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among Black women of all ages and is increasing in younger women in the U.S.
The African American Breast Cancer Alliance (AABCA) finds that the barriers, issues and myths that the founders discovered 25 years ago are still a battle. Fear of breast cancer is universal for all populations and ages. Believing in survival is an everyday challenge but it is possible despite the setbacks we face dealing with this disease.
AABCA’s mission is to help women cope with the fear of cancer and the side effects of treatments. Our monthly peer support group offers a safe place where participants have a chance to:
- Share their experiences, feelings and stories with others who have been there.
- Find resources to help with practical problems, such as finances, getting to or from doctor visits, or problems at work or school.
- Receive advice to better deal with their new life self-focus and the needs of others in their lives.
AABCA continues its goals and objectives of community-based initiatives geared towards the awareness of breast health, breast cancer disparities, and education for Black women and the community by working together:
- Educating women on the importance of early detection, diagnosis and treatment
- Promoting routine breast self-exam (BSE) and clinical breast exam (CBE)
- Raising awareness of breast cancer issues for Black women
- Promoting screening guidelines that are responsive to the needs of Black women
- Presenting focus groups and surveys; and listening to the issues and concerns of Black women related to breast cancer
- Creating outreach initiative for early education and screening among younger women especially those who have a breast cancer family history or symptoms
- Engaging survivors in the discussion about breast cancer disparities and strategies with healthcare providers, researchers, advocates, community organizations to increase outreach and better outcomes.
It’s not easy, but hard work always pays off and that’s evident in the increasing number of African Americans living through breast cancer.