COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A Columbus woman who watched her aunt battle breast cancer twice wants those in the community to understand the importance of getting mammograms.
Shameika Averett, the Community Outreach liaison at Columbus Hospice of Georgia and Alabama, said Breast Cancer Awareness Month has new meaning for her after watching her aunt battle breast cancer twice.
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month means a lot to me, I lost my aunt back in May of 2012 to breast cancer. She was actually a survivor of breast cancer and breast cancer came back unfortunately in her uterus. She ended up passing away, so this is a month where everyone needs to come together, men and women, to understand how important it is to get your breast checked, “Averett said.
According to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, African American women have a higher mortality rate from breast cancer than any other race of women. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners also states, younger African American women, in particular, are more likely to present with the triple-negative subtype of the disease, a subtype that is both more aggressive and associated with higher mortality.
“What I’ve learned and what I’ve understood is that with Black women it is more prevalent with us, I also know that with Black women when it comes back it’s more aggressive. That’s what happened to my aunt, she had breast cancer and survived it and then the breast cancer returned and unfortunately, she ended up passing away,” Averett said.
Averett said every woman should take the time to examine their breasts, especially Black women.
“With Black women, we definitely want to make sure we take care of ourselves, we want to make sure that we examine our breasts and look for anything that feels abnormal. I know that may sound kind of strange but breast tissue does change month to month. So getting to know your breasts is very important, any changes like something that feels very lumpy and hard and sticks to your breastplate and it moves. Those are definitely things you want to go to your doctor and tell them about,” Averett said.
Averett also wants those in the community to know that men too can develop breast cancer.
“It’s rare but I think that men need to be aware as well of their breast changes. It’s kind of hard to talk to a man about his breasts but at the same time, there are men in Columbus, Georgia that have suffered from breast cancer,” Averett said.
Averett told News 3 it’s important for mothers to talk to their daughters about breast cancer and the importance of checking their breasts.
“I would definitely tell and encourage mothers to encourage their daughters as early as they can to start checking their breasts. Breast cancer is not necessarily genetic, so just because I have breast cancer that doesn’t necessarily my daughter will have it. So I would just encourage every woman and even men to encourage their daughters to get their breasts checked and learn their breasts at an early age. Because young women at the young age of 18, 19 even in their 20s do get breast cancer,” Averett said.