Komen urges black women to become Circle of Promise (COP) ambassadors by knowing and encouraging other women to conduct monthly self-exams; get a clinical exam at least every three years, starting at age 20 and annually after age 40; have an annual mammogram starting at age 40, if they are at average risk for getting the disease and learn their family history to determine if they have a genetic risk for breast cancer.
Women are also urged to consult with their doctors to determine when screening should begin and how often.
Komen also encourages women to make healthy lifestyle choices, including eating right and getting regular exercise.
Women should consult a health care expert if they experience:
• a lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
• change in the size or shape of the breast
• dimpling or puckering of the skin
• itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
• pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast
• nipple discharge that starts suddenly
• new pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
To find resources and a local Komen affiliate, go to http://www.circleofpromise.org.
“Don’t be afraid to talk about it,” King said. “Your story may save someone’s life.”