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Model/WBNA Star Fights For Breast Cancer Cure

WNBA superstar and fashion model, Lisa Leslie, considers her mother as the single most influential person in her life. Her mother, Christine Espinoza, who supported her family by driving trucks across the country, once faced a breast-cancer scare. Now, Leslie plays a role as the national spokeswoman for the WNBA/Sears Breast Health program.

The WNBA announced Tuesday a three-year partnership with Sears to expand the league's Breast Health Awareness initiative with the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO). As part of partnership, Sears has committed a minimum donation of $1 million to NABCO over the duration of the program. The goals include promoting the importance of early detection, encouraging women to practice good breast health strategies, reaching out to medically under-served women and supporting the work of NABCO and local cancer education support groups.

Each WNBA team will host a Sears WNBA Breast Health Awareness night during the regular WNBA season that will directly reach thousands of fans with the breast health message. Sears will donate $.50 for every fan that attends a Breast Health Awareness night to NABCO. Attendees will receive a brochure outlining early detection strategies for good breast health and a pink ribbon.

"One out of nine women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime," says Val Ackerman, WNBA President. "Although breast cancer cannot be prevented, it can be detected at an early, treatable stage and it is the WNBA's goal to reach as many women as possible and get them to take charge of their breast health."

Sears will work with NABCO and the local WNBA teams to select and recognize a local "Breast Health Hero" in each WNBA market. Local champions will be selected based on their contributions to cancer organizations and support of breast health awareness.

Three Point Play for Good Breast Health

  1. If you're under 40, your breast health program should include the following steps:

    • Starting at age 20, have a yearly checkup and breast exam by a doctor or nurse.

    • Become familiar with your breasts and examine them once every month. Many women, especially young women, have lumpy breasts. But if you feel a new lump that doesn't go away, have it checked by a doctor or nurse.

  2. Your risk of breast cancer increases with age, so starting at age 40:

    • Get yearly mammograms (breast x-rays). Mammography is a safe, painless and accurate way to find breast cancer even before it can be felt. Talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram, or schedule one yourself. Remember to have one every year - just one mammogram isn't enough.

    • Have a doctor or nurse examine your breasts every year.

    • Become familiar with your own breasts and check them every month for any lumps or changes. If you feel a lump that doesn't go away, have it checked by your doctor or nurse.

  3. No matter what your age, you should also fllow these guidelines:

    • Maintain a healthy weight and choose a healthy lifestyle. Eat a low-fat diet, exercise regularly, avoid alcohol and don't smoke (or quit if you do).

    • Know your family health history. Breast cancer or other cancer in close relatives may affect your own risk.

    • Tell all the women in your life – your mother, sister, friend, teacher, neighbor – to take care of their breast health. Show them this guide. Go with them to their yearly exams and mammograms. Don't let them put it off!

Above guidelines copyright "The Three Point Play for Good Breast Health" brochure from NABCO in partnership with the WNBA. All rights reserved.

The WNBA will begin its fourth season on Monday, May 29, 2000. The league will expand from 12 to 16 teams this season, with additional teams in Indiana, Miami, Portland and Seattle.

The National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO) is the leading non-profit informatio and education resource on breast cancer and a network of over 400 breast cancer organizations. NABCO provides information, assistance and referral to anyone with questions about breast cancer, and acts as a voice for the interests and concerns of breast cancer survivors and women at risk.

©MMII CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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