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Doctor offers tips at Relay fundraiser

NATCHEZ — One out of every 10 women — and one out of every eight black women — will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was a staggering statistic that Dr. Roderick C. Givens shared with a group of cancer survivors and their friends and family Saturday.

Givens, radiation oncologist for Caring River Cancer Center in Natchez, was the guest speaker at a tea hosted by God’s Angelic Warriors, a Relay for Life team led by survivors.

Approximately 50 people attended the ninth annual Relay fundraiser tea at St. Peter Missionary Baptist Church Saturday.

Relay for Life benefits the American Cancer Society.

“Black people are disproportionately affected, meaning it hits them harder,” Givens said. “There is a higher mortality rate, and more women are diagnosed at a later stage.”

Givens also spoke to the crowd on the importance of mammograms and breast self-exams.

“Mammograms are the No. 1 saviors of ladies,” he said. “Self-breast exams are also very crucial to finding the cancer early.”

With the survival rate for people with stage one breast cancer being 95 to 98 percent and the rate for stage four breast cancer less than 50 percent, Givens said early detection is key to fighting off breast cancer.

“We recommend that you get a mammogram once a year and do the self breast exams once a month,” he said.

Givens also gave the crowd some sound advice on maintaining their overall health.

“When you go to the doctor, make sure you are getting everything else checked out too,” he said. “You don’t want to fix one thing and have something else go.”

It’s key to find a doctor you trust, ask questions and pay attention to your own health, Givens said.

“With our bodies, we may have sore feelings day in and day out but never get anything checked out,” he said. “We need to work on getting ourselves to the doctor.”

Givens ended his talk by telling the crowd to prompt their friends and family to visit the doctor for regular tests.

“Share this information with your loved ones,” he said. “Encourage them to go out and get a mammogram. It could save their life.”

The group of warriors also took a few moments to light a candle for members who have died.

“Although they are no longer with us we are always reminded of the works they did and all their labors of love,” Clementeen Youngblood said.

Angelic Warriors co-founder Bonita Reed ended the meeting by recognizing the group’s efforts.

“We are here doing all we can to help fight this disease,” she said.

“We are doing what we can to put up a strong, courageous fight against breast cancer to help find a cure.”

Reed also reminded the crowd to come out to the Vidalia Landing May 6 to participate in Relay for Life.

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