- Published on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 03:42
- Written by Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com
Have a question about breast cancer? Text it to "646464" (OHOHOH).
Malaak Compton-Rock is an activist by nature.
Her experience in public relations and the cosmetics industry helped her draw star power to worthwhile causes after she went to work for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund), where she designed and orchestrated numerous fundraising and advocacy events.
Compton-Rock then went on to found the Angelrock Project, an online e-village that promotes volunteerism, social responsibility, and sustainable change. The Angelrock Project provides information on how to be an effective volunteer, advice on monetary or in-kind donations, links to life-changing non-profit organizations and recommends fair trade companies whose products sustain third-world artisans.
She has now turned her attention to helping the Susan G. Komen foundation further its work in finding a cure for breast cancer, specifically Triple Negative Breast Cancer, a particularly virulent form of the disease that hits younger black women disproportionately.
According to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation (TNBCF), while black women are less likely than white women to get breast cancer, when they do get the disease they tend to get it earlier (before age 40) and are 41 percent more likely to die from it. In fact, it is the second most common cancer and cause of cancer death among African American women.
Too many African American women discover that they have breast cancer when the disease is advanced, rather than at early stages when life-saving treatment may be more effective.
Black women are three times more likely than white women to get Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Susan G. Komen is funding several grants to study this aggressive form of breast cancer in African American women and has teamed up with TNBCF on a promise grant to explore new treatment options for Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Those interested in helping Komen and TNBCF to further their research work for Triple Negative Breast Cance, may donate by clicking on the Susan G. Komen image below.
“There is significant interest in better understanding TNBCF among researchers and scientists, who are working diligently to identify better treatment options,” Compton-Rock said in a statement announcing her support for the research effort.
Additionally, the public is invited to visit the TNBCF site for details on how to raise awareness about the disease on Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day on March 3.
TNBCF and Komen are encouraging men, as well as women, to be “breast self-aware” by:
• Knowing their risk for breast cancer by talking to their doctors and knowing their family health histories.
• Getting screened. Women over 20 at average risk should get a clinical breast exam at least every three years and starting at 40 to get a yearly mammogram.
• Familiarizing yourself with your breasts and report any changes to your doctor.
• Maintaining a healthy lifestyle – eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising.
Can triple negative cancer come from drinking water?
Although we have learned a lot, currently we do not know what causes breast cancer to develop in a certain person at a certain time and we don’t know how to prevent it. We have not seen studies in people that have shown that triple negative breast cancer can come from drinking water. For more information about risk factors and triple negative breast cancer, please visit komen.org.
My daughter is mixed race with a 19 month old. She had mammograms and ultrasounds at 16 due to cystic dense breasts. Does she need a new mammogram? It has been 10 years since the last one.
Getting regular screening tests is the best way to lower your risk of dying from breast cancer. If a woman is under 40 and has a family history of breast cancer or other concerns about her breasts, she should talk to her health care provider about her risk, when to start getting mammograms and how often to have them. For more information about early detection and screening, please visit komen.org.
I am a 52-year-old African-American female. I went for mammograms for the last 15 or more years every year. I was just diagnosed with breast cancer last month. What could I have done to have prevented this?
Although we have learned a lot, currently we do not know what causes breast cancer to develop in a certain person at a certain time and we don’t know how to prevent it. Getting regular screening tests is the best way to lower your risk of dying from breast cancer. Mammography can find cancers at an early stage, when they are small (too small to be felt) and have the highest survival. For more information, please call our breast care helpline at 1-877-GO-KOMEN (1-877-465-6636), or go to www.komen.org.
What I would like to know would be how you can participate in the breast cancer walk and not have to raise the total amount of the monies. Survivors are broke.
If you’re talking about the Komen 3-Day (which has a $2,300 fundraising requirement), we understand and we’re grateful that you want to help others. Please consider participating in one of our local 1k/5k Komen Races, purchasing a product from one of our partners, volunteering with your local Affiliate (see a list of Affiliates here), or participating in other events. Anything you can do helps us fund the research and serve women in hundreds of communities!
Where may I go to get a free or low payment mammogram? I get less than $400 a month in unemployment.
We can help. You may be eligible for government-funded screening programs or low-cost/free screenings funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure Affiliates in more than 120 cities. Please call our national helpline at 1-877-GO-KOMEN (1-877-465-6636), or visit www.komen.org/affiliates to find a Komen Affiliate near you.
Tell me what testing I should have done as a 30-year-old black female.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure recommends a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20 and every year starting at age 40 for women at average risk. Earlier screening and other tests may be recommended for women at higher risk of breast cancer. Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer and what screening tests they recommend for you. To learn more about clinical breast exams, please visit komen.org.
I have a strong history of breast cancer. My mom had it 16 years ago and was diagnosed again in August. I'm 37 and have been getting mammograms since the age of 35. Someone needs to put these insurance companies on blast for NOT PAYING for mammograms unless it’s the baseline. Any exam after that under the age of 40 I have to pay for because my insurance says it’s not diagnostic. My argument is it’s preventive. Since fighting with my insurance I have had them reimburse me but I'll have to fight each year until I'm 40!
Sorry to hear that you’re having this trouble but we are glad that you’re getting the screenings that you and your doctor want you to have. Our local Affiliate may be able to help find a low-cost or free screening near you. Call our breast care helpline at 1-877-GO-KOMEN (1-877-465-6636), or visit komen.org/affiliates to find a Komen Affiliate near you. Please note that mammograms don’t actually prevent breast cancer from occurring, but can detect breast cancer early when it can be effectively treated and reduce the risk of dying from the disease.
I'm 33 and was adopted at birth so I have NO knowledge of my biological family history. Is there a test I should request just to be safe?
Some people may not know their family medical history. Risk assessment tools such as the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool (Gail model) can estimate your breast cancer risk without this information. However, it will be less accurate without family history details. The current guidelines for screening women at average risk of breast cancer are to get a screening mammogram every year starting at age 40 and to have a clinical exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20 and then every year starting at 40. Women who are at higher risk or who have concerns about their risk should talk with their doctor about when they should start screening and what tests are right for them. To learn more about screening guidelines, please visit komen.org.
I am a black female. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2010. Doctors found on my yearly mamgram the cancer lump about 1/2 inch. I had a lumpectomy. I ate right, I am not overweight, and breast cancer does not run in my family. I did chemo and radiation. I am 1 year and 6 months cancer free. Can my breast cancer come back?
There is no way to predict if your breast cancer will return. However, your cancer is less likely to come back if you had no or few cancerous lymph nodes found during surgery; your breast cancer was found early and was small; you had adjuvant therapy, such as chemotherapy along with surgery; and you have lived 5 to 10 years without a recurrence. We would encourage you to continue any treatment that may be ongoing and to continue follow-up appointments with your health care providers. They can recommend and remind you of screening tests that will be important for you. To learn more about recurrence, please visit komen.org.
My wife has triple negative and has gone through chemo and radiation and has had a good follow up appointment. The problem I have with her is that her doctors have not told her to stop drinking and smoking so she thinks it's ok. I think she has given up on life and I'm really worried about her health.
First of all, I am sorry to hear about your wife. It is obvious that you are concerned about her and want what is best for her. Research does show a connection between smoking and breast cancer risk. The evidence related to smoking and breast cancer risk directly isn’t as clear. However, we know that there is no good reason to smoke. To learn more about smoking and breast cancer, please visit komen.org.
My nipples itch a lot. Could that be a sign for breast cancer?
Nipple changes can be a warning sign of Paget disease of the breast, which is a type of breast cancer. It may also be associated with other benign (not cancerous) conditions. Your health care provider should be able to evaluate and discuss his/her findings with you. To learn more about Paget disease of the breast, please visit komen.org.
Should black men be concerned about this type of breast cancer also?
Breast cancer can also occur in black men. All men can get the same types of breast cancer that occur in women, although the risk is much lower. To learn more about male breast cancer, please visit komen.org.
I am a 48-year-old woman who discovered a lump in her breast about 12 days ago. I went to see my doctorwho told me it felt like it was fibrocystic tissue and that I should not worry. I am still waiting for the results from the mammogram. The lump has gotten larger and I am experiencing some discomfort. I should hear from the doctor's office within next day or so. Should I be worried?
Most lumps are not breast cancer and could be a benign (non-cancerous) breast condition. Normally it can take up to two weeks to get results from a mammogram, so you may want to follow up on the results and also let them know you think the lump is larger. Once you have the information and mammogram results, you can always seek a second opinion from another health care provider. To learn more about mammography, please visit komen.org.
With regards to breast cancer: wouldn't the exposure to the machine that performs mammograms possibly give you cancer? I would love to hear some stats about women who regularly have mammograms done who end up with cancer and others who use other measures to check.
Mammography is the best screening tool used today. It has the ability to find breast cancer early when it is most treatable. A woman is exposed to a small amount of radiation during a mammogram. While the radiation exposure during mammography can increase the risk of breast cancer over time for some people, this increase in risk is very small. Studies show the benefits of mammography outweigh the risks from radiation exposure, especially for women ages 50 and older. To learn more about mammography, please visit komen.org.
Is there a connection between Chronic Breast Syndrome & Triple Negative Breast Cancer, and what is CBS?
Chronic breast syndrome does not have a standard definition, so may be describing one of several conditions. Your health care provider is the best person to answer that question for you. Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is an often aggressive form of breast cancer that tends to occur more in younger women and African American women. To learn more about TNBC, please visit komen.org.
If you don't have insurance, is there a place where we could go to get the screening for free or low cost?
Yes. You may be eligible for government-funded screening programs or low-cost/free screenings funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure Affiliates in more than 120 cities. Please call our national helpline at 1-877-GO-KOMEN (1-877-465-6636), or www.komen.org/affiliates to find a Komen Affiliate near you.
How do you check yourself for lumps and what should you feel for?
Susan G. Komen for the Cure® recommends that you become familiar with the way your breasts normally look and feel. Knowing what is normal for you may help you see or feel changes in your breasts. There are eight warning signs you should report to your health care provider:
• Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
• Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
• Change in the size or shape of the breast
• Dimpling or puckering of the skin
• Itchy, scaly, sore or rash on the nipple
• Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
• New pain in one spot that does not go away
For more information about these warning signs of breast cancer, please visit komen.org.
I have sharp pains in my right breast. Do I need to have that checked out?
Generally, breast cancer isn’t painful and that is why it can grow and grow before being detected. However it IS possible for cancer to cause pain. This pain is different from the general discomfort that a woman experiences in both breasts just before her period. So pain in your right breast that does not go away should be reported to your health care provider. For more information about the warning signs of breast cancer, please visit komen.org.
What is breast fibroadenomas?
Fibroadenomas are solid benign tumors. Typically, they are a smooth, rubbery or hard lump that moves easily within the breast tissue. Fibroadenomas are more common in younger women between the ages of 15-35. In most cases, fibroadenomas are not cancerous and not generally associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. For more information about fibroadenomas, please visit komen.org.
What about breast cancer in men?
Men can get breast cancer too, although it is rare and only about one in a hundred cases of breast cancer will occur in a man. The warning signs include a lump, hard knot or thickening in the breast (usually painless, but may be tender), a change in the size or shape of the breast and skin and nipple changes. Since many men don’t realize that they can even get breast cancer, they may ignore these changes and delay seeking care. All changes should be evaluated by a health care provider. For more information about breast cancer in men, please visit komen.org.
My doctor told me that I didn't need to have a baseline exam. I'm 39. He said they are no longer necessary. Should I be tested now?
The current guidelines for screening women at average risk of breast cancer are to get a screening mammogram every year starting at age 40 and to have a clinical exam at least every year starting at age 20 and then every year starting at 40. Women who are at higher risk or who have concerns about their risk should talk with their doctor about when they should start screening and what tests are right for them. For more information about screening guidelines, please visit komen.org.
I have cystic breast & always have lumps. It makes me nervous. What should I do?
Know what is normal for you so that you recognize changes in your breasts and then see your health care provider if you notice persistent changes. Just because you have had a cyst in the past does not mean that a new change you notice is also a cyst and should be evaluated. For more information about cysts, please visit komen.org.
Great info! The Komen Foundation has been getting millions of dollars for many years. Are they any closer to a cure?
Komen has helped make huge progress, starting years ago with the discovery that breast cancer is a family of diseases (at one time, breast cancer was considered just one disease and women received pretty much the same treatments, which were also very limited at the time). Komen’s $750 million research investment has helped fund research that’s led to new treatments and interventions in breast cancer, and has helped reduce death rates from breast cancer by 33 percent since 1991. That means that many women are living longer and even “beating” some forms of breast cancer – in fact, America’s 2.9 million breast cancer survivors are the largest group of cancer survivors in our country.
Now, we’re funding research along the entire continuum of cancer – from prevention, to more effective screening, to treatments for some of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, like inflammatory breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer, and metastatic disease. Our funding also is looking for ways to eliminate the disparities that contribute to higher breast cancer death rates in women of color. You can see more about Komen’s research at this link or by going to komen.org and clicking on “Research and Grants.”
I’m 28 years old and my great grandmother and her mother both had breast cancer and my doctor tells me that I should not be concerned because it's not a close relation. What are your thoughts?
Knowing your family history of breast cancer and talking to your health care provider about it are important things you can do to learn about your risk. A woman who has one or more immediate family members (a mother, father, sister, brother or child) with any history of breast, ovarian or prostate cancer is considered at high risk for breast cancer. Most women who have breast cancer DON’T have a family history of the disease. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion if you are not comfortable with your health care provider’s recommendation. For more information about family history, please visit komen.org.
I've been taking estrace 2mg since 16. I'm over 40 now. What is the risk of me getting breast cancer after taking the drug for so long?
Determining breast cancer risk is complicated and it is best to talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer and the risks and benefits of taking hormones. He/she can advise you about the risks and benefits regarding the use of this drug. For more information about hormones and other risk factors, please visit Risk Factors and Prevention on komen.org.
The doctors have found an lump in both of my breasts. What is that test that you said we should ask for?
Your doctor should talk with you about what your next steps should be for evaluating these lumps. Your age, the clinical findings and risk factors will determine which tests are recommended, but might include a mammogram or breast ultrasound. For more information and questions to ask your doctor, please visit komen.org.
My mom just passed from cancer. Three of my co-teachers are survivors. We want to do the walk but can’t afford it. What should we do?
We’re sorry to hear about your mother and grateful that you want to help others. If you can’t afford to participate in the 3-Day, you could participate in one of our Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® events (you can find a list of them here), or any number of events that help to raise funds. You can find these at komen.org, click on Get Involved and on Find a Local Affiliate for events in your area.
What, if any, is the connection of this breast cancer and fibroids in the breast?
Fibroadenomas are solid benign tumors. In most cases, fibroadenomas are left alone because they do not increase the risk of breast cancer. However, if a fibroadenoma is large or causes discomfort or worry, it can be removed. For more information about benign breast conditions, please visit komen.org.
I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. What questions should I ask?
If you have just been diagnosed, learning as much as you can about the type of breast cancer you have can help you understand your diagnosis and make treatment choices that are best for you. Here are some examples of questions to ask- What kind of breast cancer do I have? What is the stage and grade? How many lymph nodes were removed? How many were positive for cancer? What tests should I have to see if the cancer has spread? Who will discuss my treatment options with me? How much time can I take to decide what type of treatment to have? For more information about what types of questions to ask your doctor, please visit komen.org.