Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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Volunteer group seeks to protect a community from breast cancer

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TWC News: Volunteer group seeks to protect a community from breast cancer
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A new effort to educate African-American women about the importance of early breast cancer detection kicked off this weekend in Austin.

Latanya Tatum learned six years ago that she had breast cancer.

"I felt the lump myself and at 29 I didn't know what to do,” Tatum said. “Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be diagnosed with cancer. I was the first one in my family to be diagnosed with cancer."

She said that with the diagnosis, came a rush of questions.

"When I was diagnosed I couldn't find too many African-American women to talk to about the situation,” Tatum said.

She and four others went on to help found Women in Strides, a volunteer group dedicated to informing the community about early breast cancer detection.

"We're getting the word out that you need to get screened because breast cancer tends to be more aggressive in African-American women,” co-founder Perreda Manor said. “We want to get that message out. Go get screened, get detected early."

According to Center for Disease Control statistics, white women have the highest rate of breast cancer, but African-American women are more likely to die from the disease.

In addition to education, this group of volunteers will be there to support women once a diagnosis is made.

"Women in Strides will be there to help people that get diagnosed when they don't know where else to go," Tatum said. "As I'm talking to them, most of the time they tell me that they're scared to find out what will happen if they have breast cancer. Well I'm here to tell them that I was diagnosed 6 years ago and I'm fine."

Women in Strides serves Travis and the surrounding counties. They also plan to play an active role in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this November.

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