DeBorrah Carter – Founder and Executive Director

Dear Sassy Reader,

I welcome you to Sassy Survivor Breast Health Alliance. If this is your first time, “welcome” and if you’ve been here before, “welcome back”.

What better a fitting way to enter the last quarter of 2021, then by celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The month of October.

For those of us who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, for caregivers and families of those diagnosed with Breast Cancer and for those who are at-risk of Breast Cancer, every month is Breast Cancer Awareness. To be sure, this is a time to remind men and women to do self-exams, get a clinical exam or a mammogram and to encourage each other to be aware. A lump in the breast is a sign most people are aware of, however a lump is not the only sign one should be aware of to contact a doctor. Other signs to make an appointment with a doctor are: an inverted nipple, breast surface may resemble an orange peel, discharge from the nipple (other than breast milk), change in breast size or shape, scaly, red or swollen skin in the breast area, swelling of lymph nodes around the breast area. Be aware, be informed and commit now, today the day you do that Breast Self-Exam! What are you looking for? A lump is not always evidence that you need to see a doctor.   Read the article “What Cancer Can Look Like”. There is an illustration from Knowyourlemons.org, that will educate you.

There is another recent article “Surviving Breast Cancer” which I wrote this past spring. Please read that as well. I’m so blessed that this article has been given a chapter in a book written by Dr. Brittany Mathais, M.D., Breast Surgeon at Mercy Clinic Breast Center in Oklahoma City, OK. The book is entitledA Simplified and Sometimes Sassy Guide to Breast Cancer”. Good reading for newly diagnosed, long term survivors, caregivers as well as family and friends who want to know more about Breast Cancer and be an informed support to those diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

Thank you, Bless you and there is more to come to keep you “Aware”. Questions? Call me at 909.731.2169 or email: DeBorrah@SassySurvivor.com


 #BreastCancerSigns #BreastHealthAware #BreastCancerSurvivor 

#BreastCancerThriver #KnowTheSigns #StaySassy

Dedicated Survivor

26944493I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with Dr. Robina M. Smith, an Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, at St. Jude Heritage Group. I was riveted by her story and the decisions that she has made to be where she is today. Dr. Robina (as I like to call her) started her college experience as an Art Major. During one semester, she had the auspicious opportunity to meet a doctor and graduate of the medical illustration technique penned by Max Brödel, the creator and founder of the first Medical Illustration School at Johns Hopkins in the early 1900’s.

Dr. Robina’s career took a sharp turn. Dr. Robina, having a love of science and a gift for art saw the opportunity to combine her two talents and decided to become a medical illustrator herself. Next turn, while observing a surgery of which she was to sketch an illustration of, she was so fascinated by the surgery, her sketch was never completed. When asked by the instructor why her sketch was not completed, she replied “I was too busy.” Further queried, she said she was too busy observing the surgery to sketch the surgery. On a trip to a clinic where she observed a reception room filled with African American women waiting to be treated and no doctor who looked like them, she prayed and the Lord affirmed her choice. But there was another twist. About a month before Dr. Robina was to enter medical school, she was in a horrific automobile accident. Her car was run completely over by an 18 wheeler tractor-trailer. No one who saw the accident expected anyone to be alive. Her car was completely crushed. But God! There was one little pocket of space inside that completely crushed and demolished car, where the future Dr. Robina Smith was curled up! Angels had surrounded her because they knew the mission and purpose that had been laid out for her. She told the Lord, “I know why I was spared and I know what I am to do.” Hence the world has been blessed with this doctor who places God first, seeks His guidance and wisdom to save and restore women’s bodies and esteem that have been impacted by Breast Cancer.

Her years as a freelance Medical Illustrator and Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon has given her an unusually broad base experience with which she can effectively communicate, diagnose and remedy a woman’s complex problem.

She currently is the only fellowship-trained Breast Surgeon at St Jude Medical Center and the Physician liaison to the Commission On Cancer from the American College of Surgeons. She holds membership positions on the American Society of Breast Surgeons, American Society of Breast Disease, Society of Black Academic Surgeons, Association of Woman Surgeons, Association of Black Women Physicians, Cambridge Whos Who and The Denise Roberts Breast Cancer Foundation. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Medical degree from MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine, Surgical residency from New York Methodist Hospital, and Breast fellowship from the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Robina founded Treasure Your Chest, Inc. a nonprofit organization that educates and brings awareness of the risks for Breast cancer and breast disease for African American women. If her plate wasn’t full enough, she still had room to be the co-director of the Women’s Health and Fitness Ministry at Antioch Church of Long Beach. Dr. Robina is full of God’s love and His compassion as I have been blessed to witness myself. She is a God-fearing woman with passion and compassion for helping and healing. Anyone being blessed with her presence can see and feel her love for the Lord and her love for helping women through their journey with Breast Cancer. Never too busy to educate, she is an accomplished speaker and presenter.


Sassy Resource List

  1. SassySurvivor.com
  2. www.cabwhp.org Non-profit organization for improving the health of California’s Black women and girls through education, policy, outreach, and advocacy. (new)
  3. www.triplestepforthecure.org (Triple Negative Breast Cancer) (new)
  4. www.nmanet.org (the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians committed to the elimination of health disparities)
  5. www.celebratinglife.org (Breast Cancer Awareness for African American women and women of color
  6. www.lbbc.org (Living Beyond Breast Cancer)
  7. www.cancer.gov (National Cancer Institute) 1.800.4.CANCER
  8. www.sistersnetworkinc.org (National African American cancer survivors organization)
  9. www.chemotherapy.com
  10. www.komenlacounty.org (Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County) The goal is to have 50 people on the team.
  11. www.komen.org (The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation)
  12. www.cancer.org (American Cancer Society) 1.800.ACS.2345
  13. www.blackwomenshealth.com
  14. www.bwwla.com (Black Women for Wellness) (new)
  15. www.aabcainc.org (African American Breast Cancer Alliance for Men and Women –Minnesota) (new)
  16. www.avonbreastcare.org
  17. www.celebratelifecm.org (Celebrate Life Cancer Ministry, Los Angeles, CA)
  18. www.nabco.org (National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations)
  19. www.disabilityrightslegalcenter.org/about/cancerlegalresource.cfm The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) is a national, joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School Los Angeles. The CLRC provides free information and resources on cancer-related legal issues (new)
  20. https://www.komen.org/treatment-assistance-program. Please make sure to read through and complete the entire application. You will also need to obtain a letter from your medical provider confirming diagnosis and treatment (this must be on letterhead). Once complete, send the entire application to TreatmentAssistance@Komen.org  OR P.O. Box 801889 Dallas, TX 75380. For assistance with the application or for more information, contact 1-972-866-4233 or TreatmentAssistance@Komen.org
  21. Blackdoctor.org
  22. Needy Meds – provides information on how to provide pharmaceutical assistance programs. You can visit them at www.needymeds.org or you can call them at 800-503-6897
  23. Christina S. Walsh Breast Cancer Foundation – provides assistance for treatment for under or uninsured patients, such as medications, tests, transportation to and from treatment, and other financial burdens. Please visit them at http://www.christinaswalshbcf.org/Our%20Services.html or call them at (732) 853-7910.
  24. Provision Project provides financial assistance for breast cancer patients who are in need to pay medical expenses, utilities, gas/travel, or general living expenses. Applications are only accepted from the 1st to the 10th of each month. Please visit  http://provisionproject.org/application/
  25. Remember Betty assists in minimizing the financial burden associated with breast cancer for patients and survivors by providing direct financial support. Please visit http://rememberbetty.com/grant-application/    Applications are accepted from the 1st through the 7th of each month only.
  26. Cancer Recovery Foundation – provides financial assistance for rent and utilities, community and educational resources to individuals diagnosed with cancer. You can visit the website at  https://cancerrecovery.org/programs-for-cancer-recovery/womens-cancer-fund/program-guidelines/
  27. DONNA CareLine provides case management services for caregivers and patients with a diagnosis of breast cancer. You can reach them at 1-877-236-6626  or go to http://DONNA.pafcareline.org. They have insurance and healthcare experts for breast cancer patients experiencing access to care issues.
  28. Cancer Warrior, Inc– helps patients receive financial support for the treatment of their choice. or You can reach them at 702-546-8575 or visit their website at https://www.cancerwarriorinc.org/apply They were anticipated to begin accepting applications on February 18, 2021.
  29. Breast Cancer Angels – provides temporary financial assistance to eligible patients in Los Angeles County who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of their treatment. You can contact them directly at 714-898-8900 or you can visit https://www.breastcancerangels.org/

Sassy Survivor Photo Gallery

Eat Collards and Carrots For Your Cancer


By Lynne Peeples

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Eating lots of carrots and cruciferous vegetables — collard greens, cabbage, broccoli — could reduce breast cancer risk, particularly an aggressive form common among African American women, suggests a large new study.

The researchers looking at data from the ongoing Black Women’s Health Study did not find a similar benefit from fruit intake.

Previous studies of the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and breast cancer in white women have led to conflicting results, and no prior research has investigated this link separately among African American women, lead researcher Dr. Deborah A. Boggs, of Boston University, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

Boggs noted her team’s earlier work showing that a so-called “prudent diet” high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish led to a lower risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancers among African American women.

The ER-negative form of breast cancer, which is insensitive to the hormone estrogen, is more common in this population than among white women. It is also more difficult to treat and more often fatal than estrogen-sensitive cancers.

Overall, breast cancer is the second leading cancer-killer for both African American and white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 1 in 8 American women will develop the disease at some point in life, although age, heredity and environmental factors can increase an individual’s risk.

Boggs and her colleagues wanted to find out whether fruits and vegetables drove the beneficial effect they saw in women eating the prudent diet and whether specific varieties are particularly protective.

They tracked the diets and health of more than 50,000 African American women from across the U.S. for 12 years. About 1,300 of the women developed new cases of breast cancer during that period, 35 percent of them ER-negative.

The researchers found, however, that women who ate at least two servings of vegetables a day had a 43 percent lower risk of ER-negative breast cancer compared with women who ate fewer than four servings of vegetables each week.

Further, they identified certain types of vegetables that appeared to reduce the risk of all types of breast cancer, including broccoli, collard greens, cabbage and carrots.

Women who ate three or more servings a week of carrots, for instance, had a 17 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who ate carrots less than once a month.

The results for all vegetables held after accounting for other potential breast cancer risk factors, such as physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and education level, as well as consumption of other components of the prudent diet, the researchers report in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Still, it is too early to determine if this is a true cause-and effect-relationship, they note. High vegetable consumption could mark a healthier lifestyle in general or some other unknown mechanism that accounts for the apparent protection. Vegetables’ cancer-staving power needs to be confirmed in further studies, the researchers write.

“Most Americans do not meet the recommendation of five servings of vegetables per day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, and African Americans in particular eat fewer vegetables on average than do whites,” said Boggs.

“It is clear that, in addition to potential protective effects against breast cancer, higher vegetable consumption can lead to many health benefits, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease,” she added. “Therefore, we recommend that African American women try to increase their daily intake of vegetables to meet the established guidelines.”

SOURCE: http://link.reuters.com/pyf69p American Journal of Epidemiology, online October 11, 2010.

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