PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Getting a breast cancer diagnosis is jarring, especially when you thought it couldn’t happen to you.
“There’s no history on my mom’s side or my dad’s side,” said Chiara Law as she wore a pink and navy floral scarf on her head.
Law is currently undergoing treatment.
“I’m gonna be honest, I stopped going to get mammograms. I’m small, I’m the president of the itty-bitty committee, so I don’t need to go,” said Torrie Singletary with a laugh.
The two women sat on a couch next to Carla Mason who got her diagnosis after a devastating loss two years ago.
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“My mom passed away from stage four metastatic breast cancer within three weeks of her diagnosis,” explained Mason. She was told she had Stage 1 breast cancer at age 38.
They call themselves the “Pink Sisters”, a group from Zion Church made up of survivors and those currently undergoing breast cancer treatment.
At first, Law was hesitant to join the group after discovering a lump in her breast.
“I didn’t know that I needed them, but I did. I really, really did,” she said with tears in her eyes. “Especially if you’re the only one that’s gone through this, it’s super lonely.”
Dr. Regina Hampton is the Chief of Breast Surgery at Luminis Health Doctors Community Hospital. She works with patients and community leaders to bring awareness to the disease.
“What I want is to bring it out of the shadows,” she told 7News’ Victoria Sanchez. “Let’s talk about the good, bad and the ugly so that we help women who come behind, not to view it so negatively.”
A study by the Susan G. Komen Foundation found the DMV is one of 10 metropolitan areas in America where Black women are dying at higher rates of breast cancer than White women. Komen and the hospital in Prince George’s County are providing free breast cancer screenings and diagnostic imaging to women.
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“No matter who she is or no matter her insurance status,” said Dr. Hampton.
Most of her patients are Black and Latina women. Dr. Hampton is part surgeon and part therapist. She listens to what the patients are saying and understands what they’re not telling her.
“And I think it helps that I look like them and I can call out some of the challenges, some of the cultural issues that they’re having,” she said.
For the “Pink Sisters”, they cry together, laugh together and most importantly share their experiences openly. They hope more women can do the same.
"I think it's important for all women to get tested. This isn't unique to one gender, it isn't unique to one age group, it isn't unique to one ethnicity. It's important for all women, all ages to follow up and be vigilant about their health," said Mason.