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Curly Nikki

Getting Real About Breast Cancer

By January 27th, 20217 Comments
Getting Real About Breast Cancer
by Sherrell Dorsey of

I’m not a big advocate of finding cures for cancer. Call me whatcha wanna I’d rather prevent the damn thing in the first place. Did you know that majority of the cancers we develop as human beings are causes of our environment, our eating habits and our overall lifestyle? With that said, through what we do in our daily activities in our lifespan, we’re actually the ones responsible for getting cancer? What a thought!

I’m on a mission to empower myself towards better health as well as empower my sisters, aunts, cousins and mothers to do the same. Unfortunately, black women are the hardest hit by breast cancer and have the highest mortality rates all simply because of our lifestyle as well as certain environmental injustices.

Stand cancer in the face before it starts with a few things that I want you to think about and consider to help live a cancer-free lifestyle.

1. Ditching toxic products – Majority of the products on the beauty supply shelf are laden with estrogen-mimicking chemicals and hormone disruptors have been linked to breast cancer. So that faithful relaxer you use can also be putting you at risk for developing cancer later on. My advice… Go natural and save yourself the heartache later on. But don’t just take my word on it, check out what the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics had to say after testing products from black beauty supply stores.

2. Exercising – Being a black woman with black hair can be tough especially when you don’t want to ruin your do’. Unfortunately, messing up our hair is one of the reasons why we don’t get enough exercise and have higher rates of obesity, diabetes and also cancer. Georgetown University conduced a study concluding that exercise can help to reduce breast cancer in African American women. So tie down your hair with a cotton bandana to prevent sweat from sweating out your look and walk, jog, dance or join the gym to get your daily workout on.

3. It’s happening at a younger age – Breast cancer is discriminating and now it’s not just hitting older women, it’s also hitting younger black women. According to NPR, African American women ages 35 to 44 have a death rate from breast cancer twice that of white women the same age. That has to be a rude awakening for all of us.

It’s important that we work to kick up our health game, go organic, ditch chemical laden products and work towards increasing our health through our daily lifestyle.

I’ve started working out more regularly as well and eating better. Who’s with me? We all need support on this journey towards health!

Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating, Sherrell writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks’s beauty and fashion site, Jones Magazine, and Posh Beauty. Follow Sherrell on twitter at and connect with her on facebook at


  • LFlow says:

    I really appreciate this post. I co-founded an organization called Triple Step Toward the Cure after losing my only sibling and sister to triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) at the age of 42. Contrary to beliefs still widely held by many, breast cancer is not just an older white women's issue. It does not have to run in your family and waiting until age 40 for your first mammogram could cost you your life.

    My sister was a marathon runner and we have no history of any illnesses, let alone cancer, in our family. So i agree with many of the comments made already that our environment along with what we put IN and ON our bodies play a larger role in disease development than we have been led to believe.

    My decision to go natural 3 yrs ago was influenced by several things, but my sister's experience really helped drive home the idea I could help support my body do what it was designed to do by choosing to become more conscientious in my lifestyle.

    Losing my sister has left an indescribable void but I decided the most effective way to make sure her death was not in vain was to raise awareness of this awful disease, support other women in their transition from patients to survivors, and educate those considered to be at risk.

    Anyone can get TNBC but it tends to disproportionately affect women of African, Asian, and Hispanic ethnicities as well as young women in their 20s, 30's, & early 40s. In addition to providing financial support to women diagnosed with the disease, Triple Step is committed to educating women, particularly YOUNG women on wellness (good nutrition, active lifestyles, stress management, etc.) and being proactive advocates for their health instead of waiting & relying on whatever they are told whenever they happen to see a doctor.

    P.S. @neckbonetwo: Thank you for using your experience to educate others…love & light.

  • CJ says:

    I agree with Julissa. Please please please if you do anything else just read the book by Dr. T. Colin Campbell called "The China Study". This book explains how an ongoing research for over 20 years that shows proof that we can prevent and even reverse cancer, high cholesterol, diabetes and many other ailments just by not eating animal protein (i.e. beef, chicken, fish, dairy). I know there will be people who won't believe this but all I ask you to do is just open your mind and READ!!!! The information is out there. When you read this study you will be amazed, surprised and may even get mad (as my 67 year old mother did) because this information is out there and it is not being told by the media. I have changed the way I eat and slowly changing my family. It was hard at first, like learning how to cook all over again, but in my heart and mind I KNOW it is worth it!
    And when you get done with that book pick up the book by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" Dr. Esselstyn is a former surgeon, researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic.
    AND when you feel like a movie take a look at the movie "Forks Over Knives". This will start to open your mind!!!!
    All I ask is before you say "no", "I don't believe it", "There's no way" just read and do your research……..don't be lazy about your health.
    "We know accurately only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases" ~Goethe

  • Julissa says:

    Totally Agree, decreasing our animal product intake will help tons. Just search on google or youtube for Dr. Neal Barnards videos and he'll be able to explain it better than me. Thanks for this post

  • Annabel says:

    Thank you so much for this article. This is an issue that is near and dear to me, as my grandmother died at a very young age of breast cancer. She died when I was 11 and I had a lot of anxiety about my Mom's health ever since. Since then, I made it my goal to eat right and stay active. I call my Mom all the time to swap easy healthy recipes and work out routines. This is something we enjoy doing and that motivate us both to stay healthy and proactive in our health.

    I'm thrilled that I made the decision to transition and discover and learn more about natural and organic cosmetic products. Looking back, it seems contradictory to eat healthy, exercise and then go through a monthly ritual of applying chemicals to my head.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful article! The safe cosmetics compaign is wonderful, they do a great job of effectively communicating how dangerous hazardous chemicals can be to not only us, but our precious little one's as well.

  • neckbonetwo says:

    I normally read articles and never post but I had to on this one. I am a three year breast cancer survivor. I have always supported events regarding breast cancer never knowing that I would one day be diagnosed. I had Triple Negative Breast cancer. It affects mostly young African American women.

    I found my lump myself. As I shared my story with friends and family it became very apparent to me that many of them did not do their monthly breast exams.

    I now volunteer to educate women on the importance of doing their breast exams and getting screened. Yes, it is true that we as African American women are less likely to develop breast cancer however are more likely to die from it. It is mostly due to early detection. We must be advocates for our own health and check the girls!

    Making simple lifestyle changes such as exercising, watching our weight and limiting our alcohol intake can also reduce the chance of us developing breast cancer. Most women who develop breast cancer DO NOT have a family history.

    Check The Girls!!!

    BTW…I'm natural. I lost all my hair to breast cancer so I didn't need to transition or big chop…one of the perks of breast cancer. LOL. Be Blessed!

  • Anonymous says:

    Totally agreed. I just had a family member very close to me pass away with breast cancer. I miss her so much. I aslo and in transition since Jan this year.But for real "us" black woman really need to get it together. We have so much to offer. And when you look in society the black woman that have chosen not to walk the path statistics say, we rule for real. When we get out stuff together we really get it together and we look good. I know we can do it. I've seen it done. No more excuses. And no more that you can because YES you can. You owe yourself that much and more. Love yourself do whatever it takes. Be encouraged.

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