Breast Cancer Survivor Talks About Her Journey through Chemo & Radiation

Better Black Health Podcast

Host: Dr. Greg Hall

Better Black Health with Dr. Greg Hall welcomes breast cancer survivor and patient advocate Shermelle Schaffer. She speaks and advocates on behalf of breast cancer patients and wrote the book “Commander of My Care” about her journey through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Patients should remain “POWERFUL” throughout their care. Vitamin D and zinc deficiency, and calcium supplements have been linked to breast cancer development. Diet is always your best approach to staying healthy and cancer-free.


Getting a yearly mammogram starting at age 40 is a great first step to detecting early breast cancer. Mammograms have shown great value in preventing advanced breast cancer!

Breast cancer is a significant health concern for African Americans, and early detection is crucial in improving outcomes. Regular screenings, such as mammograms can help detect breast cancer at its earliest stages when it is most treatable. Encouraging regular screenings and increasing awareness about the importance of early detection can potentially save lives in this community.

However, there are several barriers that prevent many African Americans from accessing regular screenings. These barriers include lack of awareness about the importance of screenings, limited access to healthcare facilities, financial constraints, and cultural beliefs and misconceptions. Addressing these barriers and implementing targeted outreach programs can help overcome these challenges and ensure that more African Americans receive the necessary screenings for early detection of breast cancer.

In African American communities, there are specific cultural beliefs and misconceptions surrounding breast cancer screenings that contribute to the barriers mentioned. Some individuals may hold the belief that discussing or seeking medical attention for breast cancer is taboo or brings bad luck. Others may have concerns about the potential discomfort of mammograms or fear receiving a diagnosis. By addressing these cultural beliefs and misconceptions through education and community engagement, we can help break down these barriers and promote early detection in African American communities.

Healthcare providers play a crucial role in addressing cultural beliefs and misconceptions surrounding breast cancer screenings in African American communities. By actively engaging with patients, providing culturally sensitive information, and addressing concerns and fears, healthcare providers can help build trust and promote the importance of early detection. Additionally, healthcare providers can collaborate with community leaders and organizations to develop targeted outreach programs that specifically address these cultural barriers and ensure that all individuals have access to life-saving screenings.

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