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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Dr. Melissa Clarke, physician and host of “Excuse Me Doctor! With Dr. Mel,” joins us to give tips and info on what women need to know. When should Black Women start mammograms? How is the BRCA Test when it comes to early detection of breast cancer? Could your athletic wear increase your chances of breast cancer?

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What do women need to know?


Dr. Clarke: Well, it’s important to start mammograms at age 45. That’s what the American Cancer Society recommends. And they even say some women should consider starting at age 40. Now, who are those women? Women with a family history of breast cancer and black women. Black women should consider getting screened earlier, because we get breast cancer at earlier ages and diet rates higher than any other US racial or ethnic group. So those are some important things to know. And I’d also add that my roommate for medical school, Dr. Carmen Parrott, who was black, she died at age 38. From breast cancer. So in honor of her, I’m asking all my sisters out there to adopt breast self-care habits, up your fruits and veggies, avoid processed foods, limit your alcohol intake and get daily exercise and of course, get your yearly mammogram.


Are you familiar with this BRCA Test that women are taking to determine if they’re predisposed to possibly getting breast cancer?


Dr. Clarke: Absolutely. It’s important if you have a family history of breast cancer and there are other cancers too, that occur in a cluster if you have a family history of those cancers, talk with your doctor about getting screened with this genetic test. Because you might be at higher risk for you yourself going on to develop breast cancer later. And that’s the purpose of a BRCA Test: to see if you are at risk because of your family history.


Athletic wear and cancer risk?


Dr. Clarke: Yeah, so it turns out that there are certain sports bras and athletic shirts that were found to have high levels of this chemical called BPA, which we may have heard about from plastics, but it’s toxic to our health, and it can be absorbed through our skin and end up in our bloodstream. And when it’s there, it can block our hormones from working and respond, resulting in everything from weight gain to cancer. There are about 11 brands that are involved. Some very well-known I’m going to talk about it more on my show tonight. So tune in if you want to hear all 11 brands but they’re well-known ones.




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