By E. Selean Holmes
Since 1985, October has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, highlighting all types of cancer affecting millions of people. And each year there are families creating new avenues of public education to keep us informed while fighting for a cure.
In Cincinnati, the Holloman family founded The Erica J. Holloman Foundation to raise awareness about and seek the prevention of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Anyone can get TNBC but, research has shown that it occurs more often in younger (under 40), African American and Hispanic/Latina women and those who have BRCA1 mutations. The American Cancer society reports that about 15-20 percent of all breast cancers in the U.S. are triple negative or basal-like and Black women continue to face higher dangers, risks and death rates.
Knowing that awareness is the key that opens the door to finding the cure, this month the Erica J. Holloman Foundation started the College Students Against TNBC Campaign to educate young people in their twenties so they can inform their colleagues and parents. The students are wearing T-shirts and posting on social media to create awareness about this triple threat. We hope that the information will inspire, educate and motivate everyone about the importance of triple negative breast cancer. This form of cancer can be more aggressive and difficult to treat. As with all cancers, early detection is imperative.
Erica J. Holloman, the daughter of Josie, was a student seeking a doctoral degree at the University of Louisville, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31, one that could only be treated with chemotherapy. Erica created the foundation and went through three rounds with her own cancer before her death at the young age of 35. The family keeps her legacy alive and hopes those who are at risk or currently suffering take advantage of the numerous available resources.
The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation has partnered with CancerCare to offer free, professional support services to patients, families and health providers coping with a diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer. The organizations advise:
Seek emotional support. Join a support group to connect with other people.
Accept help. It can be hard to ask for or accept help. People with cancer often worry that they will be a burden to family or friends, and overlook the fact that many family and friends often want to help.
Manage negative side effects of treatment. Triple negative breast cancer is frequently treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of the three. Learning to manage side effects often plays an important role in coping with this diagnosis.
Josie Holloman is in discussion with Tri-Health physicians regarding how to increase the number of women receiving mammograms. Join Josie and others in the fight for the cure by supporting local efforts.
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