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First Lady Special Shares Her Family's Experience With Breast Cancer

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Being a part of such a large family growing up, I witnessed firsthand the effects breast cancer can have on a person by watching several of my family members struggle with the disease.

My mother’s parents each grew up in families of 13 children. Their siblings, including my grandfather and grandmother respectively, each had 13 children themselves. Between my grandmother and her siblings, there were six boys and seven girls. Out of the 7 girls 4 were diagnosed with breast cancer in their late 60’s to early 70’s.

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There was Aunt Susie, who once worked as a nurse and Aunt Katherine who spent her days as a devoted wife and mother. Aunt Geneva who worked as a cook and Aunt Louise who taught music. They were your everyday women. However, when they were diagnosed there was not as much research and development of technology and very few known factors of the deadly disease to catch it or prevent it. So unfortunately, three out of the four aunts passed away due to the illness. A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, and daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer; yet, less than 15% of women who develop breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it. Most women are single victims.

With increased awareness, the rate of breast cancer has been consistently decreasing since 2000. Breast cancer had devastating effects on my family so it is extremely vital to me that I am proactive with my health. We all need to do our best and take the necessary precautions by getting regular screenings and mammograms! Let’s all do our part this month and make sure we spread our knowledge during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in hopes of saving lives!

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