I use this platform to advocate for men’s health. I’m especially focused on diseases that adversely affect Black men such as colorectal cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.
However, I am also concerned about women’s health and I want to see all women live long, healthy lives. One of the biggest threats to women’s health is breast cancer. About 1 in 8 U.S. women (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Breast cancer is more common in Black women under 45 years old than in white women. Overall, Black women are more likely to die of breast cancer.
Unfortunately, I know these stats far too well. One of my aunts died of breast cancer and several women in my inner circle have been affected by the disease.
About 8 years ago, I received a call from my cousin who is more like a brother to me. The call started with the usual pleasantries, but I immediately knew something was wrong because his usually booming voice was quiet and demure. After a few minutes of awkward silence, he spoke these words that cut me to the core.
“My wife has breast cancer.”
She had gone in for a regularly scheduled mammogram and received this devastating news shortly thereafter.
I was shocked. He and his wife are some of my closest friends. I’m their children’s godfather, we often share meals, and we go on vacation together.
At the moment, I didn’t know what to say to comfort him. I told him I’d be with them every step of the way as she began her treatment.
The treatment was long and brutal. At times, we weren’t sure if she’d defeat the disease. My cousin and I had several conversations about what would happen to him and the children if she didn’t pull through. We spent many nights talking, crying, and praying. We both felt emotionally gutted.
Thankfully, the treatment worked and I’m glad to say that my cousin’s wife has been cancer-free for over five years. She was lucky because they caught it early. This early detection definitely saved her life.
According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please do your loved ones a favor and encourage them to schedule a mammogram especially if they are in high-risk categories. This small gesture can help save lives.
Frederick J. Goodall, Mocha Man Style Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief
*** In Memorandum ***
- Ollie Ellison