Cancer survivors speak about importance of cancer education for African American women

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE)-  Saturday, the African American Coalition gathered in downtown Nacogdoches, honoring those who battled the illness, spreading cancer awareness to those who may in the future.

It was a vision of pink and blue balloons, representing a long, hard fight for these women.

"With me being 37, I'd never thought that I'd be able to have breast cancer," said Karla Skinner who was diagnosed with breast cancer in March.

Family members released their balloons into the sky, as they remember their loved ones who lost their fight to cancer.

The second annual balloon release honored breast and cervical cancer survivors, while providing education, especially to the African American community.

"More women of African American race die from breast cancer and that's probably being attributed to the fact that they are not being early detected," said breast cancer survivor of two years, Amelonee Amie.

She says getting checked is vital for beating cancer.

"It grows for some reason faster than the cancer in Anglo women," explained Amie.

She says, for many African American women, fear prevents them from taking preventative measures.

"It's how they think the community that they live in will think of them," said Amie.

These survivors say they are here to provide support to those who are afraid.

Most importantly, they want women to know even if they're struggling financially that there is help available.

They hope to educate women by sharing their stories. They had this advice to give.

"Get your mammogram every year, they can be life savers," said breast cancer survivor of eight years, Louise Rambin.

"Early detection is the best protection," said the Nacogdoches community consultant Doris Perkins.

Research indicates breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among African American women. At this time there is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, which is why regular mammograms are so important.

For information on how to get help in taking preventative measures, and receive additional support including financial needs, contact consultant Doris Perkins at 936-560-9441.

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