Although October is a month notorious for Halloween and personally my birthday, it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, numerous women around the world are forced to face the devastating reality of being diagnosed with the sometimes fatal disease: breast cancer.  Specifically, physicians are obligated to deliver the traumatic news to more African American women. African American women are not simply diagnosed at a higher rate than women of other races, but the disease is more fatal in African American women.  These fatalities render disparities in family unity, as mothers, sisters, and daughters become victims of this terrible, but treatable disease.

Current research reveals a disturbing, but eye opening fact: many women diagnosed with breast cancer fail to receive healthcare, notably those of African American descendent. Research done in regards to breast cancer fatality rates in African American women suggest that the tumors that develop in African American women are more destructive and that African American women are less receptive to the vital treatment. Additionally, African American women do not have the various opportunities that allow them to continuously receive vital treatments, based on their income. For example, many African American mothers are single parents which may force them to face the constraints of poverty in a suffering economy. Consequently, these women become underprivileged and uninsured, resulting in a late diagnosis that causes their treatment to be ineffective.

Cancer is a disease where early detection is vital and is simply the best chance for any possible cure. Due to the various odds against African American women, like the inability to receive treatment based on socio-economic issues, African American are forced to begin treatment at the worst possible time, the advanced stage.  This is probably why African American women have the lowest survival rates when compared with other races.

Given that African American women have the highest rate of fatality in regards to breast cancer, than women of any other race in the later years of their life it is vital that they initiate proper treatment.  African American women should get mammograms, which are routine screenings that may detect any abnormality in the breasts, in the earlier years of life rather than their latter.  Proactive attitudes towards breast cancer allows for the proper identification of any red flags, with respect to breast cancer, that must be taken into consideration at an premature date, which then allows these women to implement the necessary treatment and eventually obtain a cure for this unfortunate disease.

As I mentioned before there are some odds against African American women, which may prevent African American women from discovering breast cancer in its early stages. This leaves the question: How do I detect breast cancer in its earlier stages if I simply cannot afford to?  Determination is imperative. There are many clinics that offer free mammograms and since it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month there may in fact be actual health care centers that offer mammograms for free. A common fallacy is the fear of being helped. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Awareness can ensure that this disease does not become fatal, which is why awareness is the best weapon when combating this disease. All women, men, and children must be aware of what they can do to combat breast cancer, and more importantly be aware of their family tree. They must know who in their families were taken away by breast cancer, that way measures can be taken in order to catch it in its premature stages, such as genetic testing.  Remember, this is not only the month when it begins to get chilly and you dress up in what scares you the most; but it is also the month of breast cancer awareness and the fatality rate is far more chilling and scary than those creatures and the weather.