As the nation is still in the midst of celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a number of websites are focusing on how the disease affects black women in the United States.
On BET.com, a story by Jonathan Hicks highlighted the ways in which President Obama‘s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will be a huge help to breast cancer survivors by focusing on the story of Melanie Nix. Nix, from University Park, Maryland, said she is particularly grateful that Obamacare prevents insurance companies from covering someone with pre-existing conditions and it eliminates the lifetime coverage caps that used to be common with most insurance plans.
“I am emotional about the Affordable Care Act,” Nix told BET. “Now, I don’t have to be scared about how my pre-existing condition will affect my ability to be insured. This provides me comfort. It’s exciting and life changing.”
Nix, who is a fifth-generation breast cancer survivor, said the ban on lifetime caps is important for a relatively young woman like herself.
“I have a strong family history of breast cancer,” she said. “And, when there are caps, you don’t know how long you’ll be able to get insurance coverage.”
Nix is so passionate about helping women that she co-founded the Breast Cancer Comfort Site, which provides support and guidance to women with breast cancer.
A report by the Sinai Urban Health Institute in Chicago said that roughly five black women die needlessly each day from breast cancer because they lack the information and access to proper health care.
The Atlanta Daily World pointed out that although black women are less likely than white women to be diagnosed with breast cancer, they are more likely to die from the disease than any other group—partly because they are more likely to be diagnosed in the later stages when the disease has spread beyond the breast and is more difficult to treat.
The Daily World also provided some additional helpful tips on breast cancer:
• An estimated 226,870 women and 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States this year. Nearly 27,000 of those diagnosed last year were African American women. But more than three out of four African American women diagnosed with breast cancer will survive at least five years after diagnosis.
• Research has shown that exercise may help lower breast cancer risk. Try to make physical activity a part of your everyday life. Strenuous exercise for as little as 4 hours a week can lower your risk.
• Being obese after you reach menopause may increase your risk for breast cancer. Doctors know that obesity can increase your risk for a number of diseases—so it makes sense to maintain a healthy weight at any age.