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One Woman’s Mission to Educate Black Women About Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

By CRYSTAL KENDRICK/Survivor Stories

In 2008, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, the disease was discovered in the early stages. She worked in the postal service, so she benefited from quality healthcare and time away from work for treatment and recovery. Since her diagnosis, I learned that four other women in my family were diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.

Crystal and Sondra Kendrick

My mother, Sondra Kendrick, just celebrated 13 years as a breast cancer survivor, but our battle with the disease continues. As the daughter and granddaughter of breast cancer survivors and coupled with at least four other risk factors, I knew the chances of me being diagnosed were high as well.

I thought minimizing the risk factors for breast cancer and prayer were the only recourse against this disease. But I was wrong. Offspring of breast cancer survivors can now complete genetic testing, counseling and proactive treatment options with certified medical professionals if the hereditary breast cancer gene is confirmed.

With advances in technology, early detection can be even earlier. Women can now make decisions about their breast health before receiving an abnormal mammogram.

Because African American women have the highest breast cancer mortality rate than any U.S. racial or ethnic group, I am on a mission to educate and encourage Black women about the importance of understanding your body and owning your destiny!

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