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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and according to “African-American females experience higher death rates from breast cancer than any other racial or ethnic group.” This is partially due to African-American women tending to have more aggressive tumors. The fact is not meant to scare you, but it is meant as a wake up call.

Educate yourself and women you know on risk factors, discover ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer, learn how to give yourself a breast exam, and help to fight breast cancer. And remember, if you are over 40 years of age, it is important to schedule an annual mammogram.

Below is your own personal mini guide to help you get started on your breast cancer awareness.

Risk Factors:

Family history

Early puberty (before 12 years old) or Late menopause (after 55 years old)

Not having children or Having children after 30 years old

Obesity and high-fat diets

2 to 5 alcoholic drinks daily

Reduce the Risk:

Exercise or Being physically active

Eat Soy, Broccoli, Red Apples, Red Cabbage or Red Grapes

Drink green tea

Regular screening tests

Avoid hormone replacement therapy if possible

Self Examination (from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc):

Breast cancer self-examinations should be done monthly at the same time of the month, and right after your period ends.

  • In the Shower

Fingers flat, move gently over every part of each breast. Use your right hand to examine the left breast, left hand for the right breast. Check for any lump, hard knot, or thickening. Carefully observe any changes in your breasts.

  • Before a Mirror

Inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour of each breast, a swelling, a dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Then rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do.

  • Lying Down

Place a pillow under your right shoulder and put your right arm behind your head. With the fingers of your left hand flat, press your right breast gently in small circular motions, moving vertically or in a circular pattern covering the entire breast. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.

Fight Breast Cancer:

Donate, fundraise and/or volunteer. You can also shop at selected stores where the proceeds are donated to the fight. Check out these sites for various ways on how you can help them fight breast cancer.