New statistics on breast cancer show consistent high mortality rates of Black women. Sadly, after all of the money raised, all of the walks and wearing pink, all of the awareness pushes from the media, Black women are still dying disproportionately more than White women; This fact is just one example of the consequences of unequal health care in America.
So equip yourself, my sister, with the facts that might make you change certain behaviors or practices in favor of better breast health. BLAC wants to share these not-so-wildly-known facts that we need to know about breast cancer especially as Black women.
1. Skin Lighteners and Acrylic nails as a contributor to breast cancer
Breast Cancer Preventive Partners warns that using skin lighteners, acrylic nails, and hair relaxers can increase your chance of developing breast cancer due to the presence of hydroquinone or even worse, mercury, in these products. Also, acrylic nails have components like ethyl/methyl methacrylate, which has been linked to breast cancer, and aren’t safe for everyday use. Therefore, minimizing and regulating the use of these components is necessary.
2. Genetics Matter: Talk To Your Family Members
We should know that one of the factors that greatly affects the chances of a black woman being diagnosed with breast cancer is Genetics. According to Dr. Northfelt of Mayo Clinic, “A woman who has an identified genetic predisposition to cancer needs to be screened more frequently. That’s how we can detect the cancer early and help her more effectively,” Which is why it is best to talk to your health care professional about genetic testing, how you can obtain it and if it’s right for you.
3. Underwire Bras DO NOT cause Breast Cancer
Wearing an underwire bra for a longer period of time or even over the long term may be associated with an increased chance of getting breast cancer, as may be taught. Despite popular belief, there is no evidence that women who regularly use bras are more likely to get breast cancer. Most doctors agree that wearing tight bras or underwear does not increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
4. Having Silicone Implants DOES NOT increase risk in Breast Cancer
You should also know that getting a breast implant does not raise your chance of developing breast cancer. An article published by a group dedicated to ending breast cancer among black women states that, females who get breast implants have been shown to have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
5. Best Defense Against Breast Cancer is Early Detection, ie Mammograms
Finally, getting screened for breast cancer is the finest line of defense you can do in preventing breast problems. A preventative mammography once a year is your strongest line of protection against developing breast cancer. False alarms are annoying, and mammography can be uncomfortable, but the truth remains that early diagnosis saves lives, especially for women who don’t have any symptoms or aren’t thought to be at high risk for developing breast cancer.