Many years ago (although not all that many years ago) the words, “I found a lump in my breast;” “The mammogram showed something;” “I’m scheduled for surgery;” were whispered in hushed voices, laced with fear, anxiety, and depression. Black women had very few options for treatment – precious little psychological or emotional support (if any at all), and often felt shame and guilt for having been diagnosed with breast cancer. No one wanted to talk about it, let alone get screened for it, because if you went looking for it, you might find it, and if you found it, you’d probably die from it. And because we didn’t look for it, we didn’t find it until it was too late to ignore, too late to treat, and we did die from it. No wonder the myth got started that ‘if you operated on the cancer, once the air hit it, it would spread, and you would almost certainly die shortly thereafter.’ (The truth was that by the time we did operate, the cancer was so far advanced that the surgery did little good to control the spread of the disease.) Back then, breast cancer was considered a “no-win” disease. But that was yesterday.

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