Painting our cities pink in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness should not be relegated to October. It is a 365-day fight that requires us to remain dedicated to our relatives, friends and others who are struggling to defeat this illness. I am the great-granddaughter of Millie Blue, who succumbed to the disease while I was a toddler, so the breast cancer fight is extremely special to me.

Most times, breast cancer strikes our families without warning or regard for our emotional health. Some of us have witnessed our beloved relatives’  clash with the disease before ultimately losing their fight. But regardless of our own anguishes, we are encouraged to bombard our ill loved one with positivity and uplifting words and sacrifices.

Dealing with cancer is difficult. However, there are two factors that are essential for combatting the disease: early detection and counseling services, which aren’t always readily available for those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Denise Roberts, a breast cancer survivor, is contesting this with The Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation, which “is dedicated to the research, treatment and cure of Breast Cancer. TDRBCF and its volunteers are committed to educating minority women and men about breast health, early detection, prevention and care, with the ultimate goal of enhancing each survivor’s quality of life.”

One of the things we love about Mrs. Roberts’ foundation is that she offers free mammograms to people in our community – as well as counseling – which are both essential to developing a fervent strategy to combat the illness.

However, Roberts isn’t in this fight alone. Here are other low-cost and free services to assist with breast cancer survival.

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers clinical breast exams, diagnostic testing and treatment referrals to all eligible candidates.

There are several qualifications that one must meet to be eligible including:

– Being between 40 and 64 years of age for breast cancer screening.

– Having no insurance or an insurance that does not cover screening exams.

– A yearly income that is at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

Check out their website for further information and to be referred an NBCEDP agency in your area.

For those seeking counseling, Google local breast cancer survivor groups for a wealth of information. However, for those seeking a quick ear, there are several national organizations that provide support including Breast Cancer Support  and Cancer Care.

The oncology social workers at Cancer Care can help breast cancer patients: 

– Learn new ways to cope with cancer.

– Manage emotions such as anxiety or sadness.

– Talk to their families about cancer.

Best of all, counseling is available at Cancer Care, regardless of where you live. Just call 800‑813‑4673 at any time and a trained counselor will be able to assist with questions.

You are never alone.

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