Breast cancer survivors speak out about the deadly disease

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Breast cancer is the second most common cancer, after skin cancer, in women. The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time in her life is less than one in eight.

In an effort to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The South Los Angeles Report visited and listened to stories from women affected by the disease. The Women of Color Breast Cancer Survivors Support Group is made up of cancer survivors, supporters of cancer survivors and those currently receiving treatment for cancer.


Housed in a dilapidated medical building on a sleepy street in Inglewood, the Women of Color Breast Cancer Survivors Support Group works to educate women on a cancer that kills one woman in the United States every 15 minutes.

“I didn’t know black women got breast cancer,” said Happy Johnson, who was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in 1998. “I never saw someone who looked like me on a poster.”

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The women gathered to tell their stories in hopes that more black and Hispanic women will realize breast cancer can happen to them.

“Early detection is key,” said two-year survivor Mary Battle. “I am a witness of that.”

Battle was diagnosed at the age of 60 with Stage 0 breast cancer, the least aggressive form of the disease.

“I am the third straight generation in my family affected with cancer,” Battle said.

Battle had a double mastectomy a month after she was diagnosed.

“I wasn’t fooling around,” she said.

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Marva Cobb, whose mother died of breast cancer in 1996, was diagnosed in 2004. Cobb immediately turned to the Women of Color Breast Cancer Survivors Support Group, a group that offered so much support to her mother.

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