Health & Wellness

Published on October 2nd, 2011 | by thevyne


“You Have Breast Cancer”

By Nicole Anderson

“You have Breast Cancer. This is a phrase that no woman (or man) wants to hear their physician say during a doctor visit. Unfortunately many are diagnosed with the disease every year.   My family and I were personally impacted when during a routine home breast exam, my mother found a lump in her breast. That was Thanksgiving 2008. By December 29, 2008, we learned that she in fact had breast cancer. By January, 2009, she had a mastectomy on one breast and reconstruction on the other. She even elected to extend her treatment in order to participate in a cancer study to help save the lives of future cancer patients. After several months of chemo and radiation treatment, she passed away in June 2010. No one wants to hear the word cancer, but my mom fought the disease with courage and grace.

According to, about 1 in 8 women in the United State (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.  In 2010, an estimated 207, 090 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the US along with 54,020 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. That means that either you or someone that you know will develop breast cancer and see firsthand how the disease can change lives. Breast cancer affects everyone, especially women of color (Period!). This is why awareness is so important and I am so thankful that October has been designated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization is a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services.  While October is recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the mission of the organization and others like them is to have year-round education and support for breast cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and the general public. Today, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States and everyone reading this has the opportunity to increase those numbers by telling their personal stories.

My mother had yearly mammograms and found the lump herself and we did not have any known family history of breast cancer in the family. When mom was diagnosed, I was surprised to learn two statistics. 1)  Compared to African American women, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer, but less likely to die of it. One possible reason is that African American women tend to have more aggressive tumors, although why this is the case is not known. Women of other ethnic backgrounds — Asian, Hispanic, and Native American — have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer than white women and African American women. 2) About 70-80% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations. So for many of us, especially African American woman, must be diligent about doing monthly self exams and an have annual mammogram.

Now is the best time believe it or not. The best time to check for breast cancer is when your breasts feel fine. If you find cancer early, there are more treatment options and a much better chance for survival. Mammography is the best screening method used today to find breast cancer early. It is not perfect, however, when mammography is combined with clinical breast exams and self breast exams, your chances for finding cancer are even greater, if you have it.  There are many stories of hope and I would encourage you to begin by taking steps to protect you, your daughters, your mothers, your friends and all of your loved ones.

There are so many resources available for breast cancer patients, survivors and for those who want to be knowledgeable and aware of the facts. Here are just a few to get you started:

American Cancer Society ( Nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem through research, education, advocacy and service

Breast Cancer Answers ( Public Health Institute site that offers a unique collection of artwork and personal stories from over 50 breast cancer survivors, their families, and friends. Project’s aim is to raise awareness about the disease, and to support and empower the public.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer ( ) – Non-profit educational organization committed to empowering all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life. Programs include educational conferences, a quarterly newsletter, outreach to medically under-served women, consumer focused booklets, the Paula A. Seidman Library and Resource Center, Young Survivors group, and a Survivors’ Helpline.

Sisters Network Mission   Sisters Network® Inc. is committed to increasing local and national attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American community.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Non-profit organization with a network of volunteers working through local affiliates and Race for the Cure events to advance research, education, screening, and treatment.

Young Survival Coalition  – A national non-profit that focuses on the unique issues and challenges faced by women 40 and younger diagnosed with breast cancer. These issues and challenges include higher mortality rates, early menopause, pregnancy after diagnosis, a more aggressive disease and a lack of clinical trials for young women. Through action, advocacy and awareness, the YSC reaches at-risk women, young breast cancer survivors and the medical community letting them know that young women CAN and DO get breast cancer.

And of course there are some fun and fashionable ways to support the cause too. Here are few of my favorites!


Warriors in Pink

Live Loud. Love Loud. Warriors in Pink wear and gear. When you wear it, you say loud and clear that you are a Warrior in the fight against breast cancer. The line continues to feature the Warrior symbols representing strength, hope, love and courage. And, as always, 100% of the net proceeds help support Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

Pink Pony by Ralph Lauren

With a focus on breast cancer, Pink Pony supports programs for early diagnosis, education, treatment and research and is dedicated to bringing patient navigation and quality cancer care to medically underserved communities. Ten percent of proceeds from Pink Pony products benefits the Pink Pony Fund.

Phoebe Breast Cancer Awareness watch from Coach

During the month of October, Coach will donate 20% of this purchase to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®.  BCRF is dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime by funding clinical and translational research worldwide.  For more information about BCRF, visit

Resin Single Wire Rail Bangle in Ivory from Ippolta

In support of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, IPPOLITA is pleased to donate proceeds from the sale of this bangle to National Breast Cancer Awareness.

 e.l.f Cosmetics is generously donating 100% of their profits from two best-selling glosses, Glitter Gloss in Twinkle Pink and Glossy Gloss in Wild Watermelon to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Shimmering Rouge in RS308 Iron Maiden – Join Shiseido in supporting Breast Cancer Awareness month! During the month of October, Shiseido will donate $5 from every sale of Shimmering Rouge in RS308 Iron Maiden to CEW’s Cancer and Careers, an organization that helps women in the workforce coping with cancer. 

Watch a great show!

Five on Lifetime

The groundbreaking original movie “Five”, directed by Jennifer Anniston, Demi Moore, Alicia Keys, Penelope Spheeris and Patty Jenkins, is an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people’s lives. “Five” highlights the shared experience each short film’s title character endures from the moment of diagnosis, through an interconnected story arc that uses humor and drama to focus on the effect breast cancer and its different stages of diagnosis. Premieres on Lifetime on October 10th. Check your local listings for channels and times.

Has Breast Cancer touched you or your family in a personal way? If so, feel free to encourage others by sharing your story here.

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