My kind of Ladies' Night

Last week I attended CanCan Night: A Breast & Ovarian Health Workshop

It was at The Ruby, a work and gathering space for women. I didn’t know what to expect when I rang the small white doorbell, but I was immediately welcomed by the organizer and other attendees. It was an small, intimate event with all of us sitting around a dining room together. The size of the group was perfect– it made it easier to have a conversation and ask questions. 

Helen Chen, our CanCan facilitator, specializes in Breast and Ovarian Cancer education. She managed to provide a lot of information without being super scary. She was relaxed, approachable and open. We even played charades at one point in the talk!

San Francisco writer, Mary Ladd, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, shared parts of her experience with us. She mentioned Angelina Jolie's New York Times essay My Medical Choice.

Faith Adiele talked to us about fibroids, her surgery for them, and her experiences with doctors and hospitals. I'd like to read Faith’s mini-memoir The Nigerian-Nordic girl’s guide to Lady Problems. She gave us a handout (I love handouts) and this section stood out to me:

Why are Fibroids a Black Women’s issue? 

Fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomies in the USA, accounting for roughly 1/3 of those performed. Hysterectomy rates among Black women are more than double those any other group. 

Up to 80% of Black women will develop fibroids, 3 times the rate of other races. Black women develop fibroids at younger ages, have more or larger fibroids, report greater anemia and pelvic pan, and take longer to seek medical treatment. 

Here are some of my takeaways from the workshop: 

• Know your body and be aware of what’s normal for you.

• Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to be misdiagnosed initially, so be persistent if you feel like something is wrong.

• Everyone needs an medical advocate.

One last thing I’ll leave you with - this event reminded me of a great video by my journalist-friend, Eva, called Cysts Happen

Glittery sticker courtesy of Helen Chen

Glittery sticker courtesy of Helen Chen