Rhyan Nile | Feature Writer 

1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2022, an estimated 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. Breast cancer is always caused by a genetic abnormality, 85-90% of breast cancers are due to genetic abnormality that happens as a result of the aging process and the “wear and tear” of life in general. Women everywhere are fighting this battle and even a few men, and need our help. “Cancer doesn’t care, so you have to,” said Crystal Brown-Tatum. Let’s change “you” to “we”. So WE have to. 

Breast cancer awareness in the African American women and community where 40% of black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than caucasian women. Sisters of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a lifetime increased risk of disease and researchers found that nearly 6.5 times higher than the average risk of breast cancer. Phyllis Luckey is a breast cancer survivor along with her four sisters. They have lost friends and family to breast cancer. Phyllis is a member of Links for Life. Before the pandemic, Links for Life would have fundraising events and she would support by purchasing tickets and is always sharing her journey. She participates in walks for breast cancer and wears pink all month. Phyllis is also pictured in this month’s issue of Bakersfield Life magazine for the month of October as a 14year survivor. Phyllis and her sisters have to do self-breast exams and get yearly mammograms. “Don’t be afraid early detection can save lives. Men should also do self-breast exams” said Phyllis. 

Yolanda Prichett is one of the four sisters of Phyllis Luckey and together they all work together, all year long to tell their survivor stories and hopefully, educate as many people as they can to help the cause. Through technology, they upload videos and talk with each other about how breast cancer affected each one of them in different ways. “By us being so open with our experience, a lot of women have let us know how our bravery, and strength to share our stories has touched many lives. This is how I choose to support the cause in the best way, by being open with my journey” said Yolanda. 

     “Get Your Mammograms!! Don’t overlook breast pain, bumps, or lumps in the breast, talk to your doctor, and please know that with early detection, science, and God—millions of women are survivors of breast cancer” said Darlene Williams, the third sister. Darlene is also a part of Links for Life, and invites them to her church to educate and inform the congregation on breast cancer awareness.  Darlene has looked at her past diagnosis as not a death sentence, but instead a life sentence. She consistently encourages and preaches positive affirmations, alongside her sisters, to the patients and survivors of this disease. “Fight like girls, but win like girls too,” said Darlene. 

Technology is getting stronger, we’re becoming more aware, and there are things we can practice at home to help as well. First, know your family history and GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!! These two things are vital because knowing early is way better than knowing too late. Keep weight in check, eat healthily, and be active. A healthy body is essential. Limit smoking and extra hormone pills, such as birth control after the age of 35. Phyllis and Yolanda make it a point to always talk about the importance of breast cancer awareness. Research new clinical trial medication. Sharing videos, talking to other women about the experience you’re having, and ensuring them how important they are. PROMOTE, ADVOCATE AND SHARE. It is our best armor to protect us from the enemy of breast cancer. 

Bakersfield News Observer coverage of local news in Kern County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.