Living with Cancer: Embracing the New Normal



Living with Breast Cancer: The New Normal for African American Women

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By Karen Eubanks Jackson, Founder/CEO, Sisters Network® Inc.

In the African-American community, a breast cancer diagnosis still is often viewed as a death sentence. Breast cancer is the leading cancer for Black women, and the five-year survival rate is lower for African-American women compared with other ethnic groups. It’s easy to understand why African-American women feel there is no hope.

A report released today by the American Cancer Society, in CA: Cancer Journal for Clinicians, found breast cancer rates among African-American women have not declined. In fact, since 2006, the rates of breast cancer incidence among African-American women have risen, while they’ve remained steady among white women and women of other races and ethnicities.

It’s hard to be certain the exact reasons why this may be. But what we do know is lack of screening and access to treatment has made survival more difficult. For too long in the African-American community, dying of breast cancer has been the norm, despite the fact that overall, more and more women are surviving and moving on with life after the disease. Data from the National Cancer Institute found the five-year relative survival rate for African American women was 79 percent compared to 90 percent for white women.

As a 20-year breast cancer survivor and founder of a national African-American survivorship organization, I’m living proof that there is life, love and laughter after breast cancer — but you have to make the choice to live. It’s about changing your mindset.

Sisters Network is a sisterhood movement. Our purpose is to save lives by sharing the message as an African-American breast cancer organization: Early detection can save your life. Our organization is there to support the survivor and be an advocate for more resources, and to educate others about the importance of early breast cancer detection.

As survivors, we encourage our members to focus on the positive side of their “new normal.” Life after breast cancer can mean living with a new purpose and new outlook. What a freeing and rewarding experience.

Nineteen years ago, I founded Sisters Network to serve survivors' needs and educate African-American women about breast cancer. We remain committed to our central purpose, but also now advocate that all women must embrace the new normal movement, which includes:

  • Making your health your top priority
  • Replacing fear with hope
  • Finding new ways to encourage and empower each other
Last Updated:10/1/2013
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Date: 09.12.2018, 09:28 / Views: 81151