By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (KYW) — October is breast cancer awareness month and it’s all about saving lives through early detection with recommended mammograms. Tomika Bryant is an influencer with a mission.
“Let’s talk about breast cancer awareness, don’t forget to get screened,” Bryant said.
Bryant’s a Montgomery County resident and breast cancer survivor. She was just about 40 years old when she found a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was absolutely afraid and fearful,” Bryant said.
The mother of two had surgery and radiation. That was nine years ago, and now, she’s all about sharing and giving back.
“This is the first thing, always put in hand sanitizer,” Bryant said.
She makes baskets for others with breast cancer.
“These are my favorite because they’re little boxing gloves, it’s just like a reminder to keep fighting,” Bryant said.
Everything from flavored water to cozy socks to head scarves, items she buys or has donated to her.
“They are items that either I love, that have meant a lot to me now,” Bryant said, “or things that while I was going through treatment, I used I needed and I loved and I just want to share with people and let them know they are not alone.”
She’s teamed up with the American Cancer Society to encourage cancer screenings. Mammograms declined 87% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She’s especially concerned about Black women who historically have high death rates from breast cancer.
“Oftentimes we’re dismissed,” Bryant said, “It is those unconscious biases that people out on your just when they see you.”
Along with baskets, she decorates rocks with screening reminders that she leaves in neighborhoods. They also have inspiring messages like “love yourself” on them.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women get screened for breast cancer starting at age 45, unless they’re at high-risk.
When found early and treated, the survival rate is 99%.
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