The ABC’s of Breast Cancer

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This list was curated by Shades of Brown Foundation. According to the  American Cancer Society, African- American women are dying at a 40% higher rate when compared to other women. Shades of Brown Foundation's mission is to empower, educate and encourage African -American women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Susan G Komen Advocacy Summit in Washington DC for Breast Cancer
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A- Advocate

If you can, bring a buddy with you to treatment(s). If you're like me, you may have go through this alone. You must always be your own advocate for excellent care/treatment. No offense to health care workers but things get done if you are polite but proactive. People alone may not have someone to speak up for them when needed, so be your own advocate.

B- Breathe

Breathe even though things seem like they are speed balling towards you and you have to get everything done, take a moment to slow down and take a breath.  Take 30 minutes for yourself and pray, meditate or just sit and relax.  

C – Carpe Diem

Life is short so seize the day.  

African American women breast cancer survivors in Washington DC preparing to lobby the hill.
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D – Depression

BC diagnosis & treatment may seem overwhelming but we have to fight the Beast. Please tell your Oncologist if you are feeling depressed or anxious for more than a few days often. It's normal but there is nothing wrong with asking for help (therapy, support group, medications if necessary)

E – Exercise

Exercise regularly, whether walking, biking, swimming to help encourage bone health and promote a healthier lifestyle.  Exercise can also help maintain muscle strength, coordination and balance which in turn helps prevent falls and related fractures.  

African American young women breast cancer survivor who just finished the Tour De Pink bike ride for Breast cancer.
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F – Freedom

Freedom to Feel How you Feel/Give Yourself Freedom to Feel.  

G – Grateful

Find something to be grateful for every day.

Young African American women at the YSC conference in Austin Texas.
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H – Hydrate

Hydrate. Hydrate. Drinking water helps to keep you hydrated and relieve dry mouth. Also helps to alleviate tooth decay associated with benedryl/meds dry mouth.

I – Inspire

Inspire & encourage each other. Be inspired, Be an inspiration!

Shades of Brown Officers preparing to Lobby on the hill for Breast Cancer with NBCC.
growingbig | Life in Pumps Shades of Brown Officers- Alysia Pringle and Sheila McGlown

J – Joyful

Be Joyful! Celebrate life. Appreciate every day!

K – Know

Know your breast cancer type and subtype.   

Young African American breast Cancer thrivers at YSC in Texas
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L – Listen

Listen to your body and get a second opinion if you feel the need to.

M – Medications

Medications/chemo drugs. Healthcare workers may find it annoying but you need to know every drug/medication(s) being put in your body. Do not be afraid to ask or examine the IV labels. It's a great fail safe for allergies as well.

The ABC's of Breast Cancer 1
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N – Notes

Take notes. You will not remember everything said at your Dr visits. You can try to take notes or Ask your oncologist if it's okay to video or record office visits and transcribe later.

O – Opportunity

Take every opportunity to live life! Don't let your diagnosis get you down. There may be rainy days, but the sun will shine again!

Alysia Pringle being honored by NBCC for breast cancer advocacy
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P – Proactive

Be extremely pro-active. Make it happen. Time works against us in treatment. You want a team that will get the right scans/procedures/results in a timely matter.

Q – Quality

Step up your quality of life! Live, love, laugh out loud, dance. Every day is a gift!

African American breast cancer survivor learning about breast cancer research NorthWestern University in Chicago.
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R – Research

Research everything.  Treatment plan and long term side effects.  

S –Self Care

Be kind to yourself.  Prayer, laughter, meditation, acupuncture, massage etc.  Find what gives you strength.  

African American Breast Cancer survivors preparing to lobby in Washington DC
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T – Tooth Care

Tooth care is a must. Speak to your Oncologist/team about prevention of dry mouth tooth/gum decay. Ask about flouride tooth gel products like Prevident and dry mouth washes like Biotene, Zeltrom, Xylitol. Be sure to brush (2xday) and floss. And, most importantly, drink water, drink water, drink water.

U – Urgent Care

Because of dehydration and such, you may need to visit an Urgent Care facility during your treatment for IV hydration or side effects. Remember to keep a list of the medications you are taking on your phone (some get medical alert bracelets).

V – Vote

There are many bills and laws that affect healthcare especially breast cancer. Reach out to your representative to see where they stand on healthcare issues that directly affect the community. Let them know know what's important to you.

Meeting on the hill to lobby for Breast cancer.
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W – Write

Write down any questions or concerns to share with your oncologist during your next visit.  

X – X-Rays

X-Rays, CT Scans, MRI’s are all scary.  Scanxiety is real. No cancer patient should have to wait a week(s) for scan results. Discuss policy for that on initial visit. How many days for results? Try not to have scans just before weekends or major holidays. But, your priority is getting scans results back as soon as possible.

African americanbreast cancer  survivors in Washington DC
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Y – You

You are your best advocate. Speak with your doctor and continue to research the facts on your breast cancer. Take an active part in saving your life.

Z – Zest

“Continue to have Zest for life because we living baby”.

To get involved with Shades of Brown Foundation or to make a donation, please contact via email at shadesofbrownfoundation@gmail.com.

The ABC's of Breast Cancer 2
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Welcome to my home on the web... I’m Tomika, the thought leader behind Life in Pumps. I love all things fashion, fun & travel! I’m a wife and mother of two very active teenagers. I'm a social butterfly and passionate about advocating for breast cancer disparities and the benefits of organics. Follow along as I believe life is more fun when you actually live it!

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