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Center Helps African American Women with Breast Cancer

Posted - Oct. 27, 2004 at 8:56 a.m.



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Dr. Kim Mulvihill reporting Any woman is at risk for breast cancer. But your race can also play a big role.

On the healthbeat, Dr. Kim Mulvihill looks into a resource that could make a significant difference for many women and their families.

African American women tend to be diagnosed with later stage breast cancer, and are more likely to die from the disease. Researcher Shirley Manly-Lampkin found cultural beliefs may contribute to the problem.

Shirley Manly-Lampkin, RN, PhD./ Imani's Breast Care Owner: "Many African American women believe they got a diagnosis because they didn't live life right or it's a punishment from God. Or if they had surgery, the air would cause the cancer to spread."

Shirley has a PhD in nursing. After 20 years of clinical practice, she decided to open up Imani's. Imani means faith in Swahili.

"I can spend an hour, I can spend two hours. I can call someone at night and not have someone tell me you have ten patients, 20 patients, 30 patients that you have to take care of in an eight hour period."

Imani's is a one stop resource center for women diagnosed with cancer - especially women of color.

"The goal of Imani's is to help women feel whole again. They take a very personal approach from finding the right prosthesis to match your skin tone and body type, to learning how to paint on eyebrows."

Several studies show hair loss is the number one emotional factor for women diagnosed with cancer. But few are told how extensive the loss will be.

"They lose all their body hair, hair on arms, vaginas, eyebrows, eyelashes, and that really devastates them."

At Imani's, you will find wigs suitable for all races, ages, and pocketbooks. If they have problems with their insurance or can't afford a wig, we give it to them, no questions asked.

Women can also learn how to use stencils - and makeup - to add on new eyebrows.

"We spend a lot of time with the eyebrows, because the eyes are the entry point to the soul."

And lot of heart and soul can be found at Imani's.

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