ST PETERSBURG, Fla. - African American women have significantly higher death rates from breast cancer than any other group, but the Tampa chapter of Sisters Network is working to lower those numbers.

"Our motto at Sisters Network is stop the silence, often times in our community," Loustine Cato said. "We don't want to talk about it.”

Sisters Network members notice a few trends when talking to people about breast cancer.

"With African American women we don’t go to the doctor as often for things because we feel like we need to be strong," Sydrena Osborne said. "We have family and so many other things to take care of that often our health takes a back seat.”

Another trend is the thinking that it'll be difficult to get help without insurance, which isn't the case, Lisa Miffin said.

In addition, African-American women tend to have higher death rates from breast cancer, said Dr. Danielle Henry, who does breast surgical oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center.

“They tend to have a triple A negative meaning the receptors are negative and these cancers we know are more aggressive," she said.

Such makes mammograms and self-checkups that much more important, Osborne said.

"I did my own self breast exams, you can do it lying down, on the bed, in the shower,” she said. “Just remember to do them often and in addition to your mammograms. If you’ll forget to get a mammogram, get it on your birthday or on a day you’ll remember.”

Those seeking breast cancer screenings can reach out to:

  • American Cancer Society
  • Florida Breast and Cervical Early Detection Program
  • Florida Hospital Tampa
  • Mammography Voucher Program
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • Susan G. Komen Florida Suncoast.

Sisters Network has a 5K Walk & Run on October 21 from 8 a.m. to noon at the University Area Community Development Center in Tampa.