Empowering Outreach: Breast Cancer Advocacy

Organizations offer breast cancer advocacy and support

September 27, 2006. No one forgets their date, Sophia Williams says. She was 36 years old and was joking around with a friend after returning from a cruise. During their horseplay, she says, she felt something in her breast.

The possibility it was breast cancer never occurred to Williams, who is now 50 and lives on the Southeast Side of Chicago. “Why would it?” she asks. She was young, and her mother didn’t have a history of breast cancer. Nor her grandmother. Even her doctor thought it was a cyst because of her age. 

Most young people don’t realize it’s possible to get breast cancer. Doctors typically recommend mammograms start at age 40, although monthly self-exams can help young women recognize changes more easily. 

It would be a few more stressful months — including a doctor’s visit, an ultrasound, a mammogram, and a biopsy — until Williams finally received a breast cancer diagnosis. 

Because of a stigma in the Black community against talking about breast cancer, Williams initially faced these issues by herself. But then she started participating in numerous cancer survivorship programs, including at UChicago Medicine, UI Health, OSF Little Company of Mary Medical Center, and the Wellness House. Such organizations play a pivotal role in advocating for breast health and supporting those with breast…

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