With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s our annual reminder to raise awareness of the disease and to get mammograms often and early. Although we hear this every year, it’s usually when the threat hits close to home that we realize just how important early detection is. Former television personality and host, Ananda Lewis, recently took to Instagram to reveal that she’s been battling stage 3 breast cancer for two years and missed her window for early detection due to her refusal to get mammograms at the recommended age. She also used her shocking revelation to encourage other women to get mammograms to prevent the possible spread of the disease.
In an Instagram video, the 47 year old opened up to her family, friends and followers, explaining how she made the mistake of refusing to get mammograms for a very long time. “For a really long time, I have refused mammograms, and that was a mistake,” she said. “I watched my mom get mammograms for almost 30 years almost, and at the end of that, she had breast cancer, and I said, ‘Huh. Radiation exposure for years equals breast cancer. Yeah, I’m going to pass. Thanks anyway.’”
While the former host of BET’s Teen Summit and The Ananda Lewis Show still stands by her belief that too much radiation causes cancer, she also wants women to understand that getting a mammogram is one of the best tools in early detection. Waiting to get a mammogram actually caused Lewis to have two Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans after her diagnosis, ultimately subjecting her body to more radiation. Knowing what she knows now, she wishes she had gotten a mammogram sooner so her doctors could have caught the disease at a place where it was more manageable.
“If I had done the mammograms from the time they were recommended, when I turned 40, they would have caught the tumor in my breast years before I caught it through my own breast exam—self exam—and thermography,” she explained. “And they would have caught it at a place where it was more manageable. Where the treatment of it would have been a little easier. It’s never easier, but I use that word in comparison to what I’m going through now. Instead, what I’m dealing with is stage 3 breast cancer that is in my lymphs. I need you to get your mammograms.”
In spite of her diagnosis, Lewis appears to be in good spirits and refuses to let anything steal her joy as she continues to be there for her children.
“I have a nine-year-old I need to be here for,” she said. “I have no intention on leaving him. I don’t want to leave any of my kids. I don’t want to leave my friends or my family. Hell, I don’t want to leave myself. I like being here. So, listen, this is not how this was supposed to go but I’m just going to keep it real with you like I always do.”
And her message to women everywhere is to get mammograms often and early. “I need you to share this with the women in your life who may be as stubborn as I was about mammograms and I need you to tell them that they have to do it. Early detection, especially for breast cancer, changes your outcome. It can save their life.”
Watch Ananda’s full Instagram video below.
We wish Ananda Lewis complete healing and recovery.