Mary J. Blige has joined the Biden administration’s efforts to support the prevention and treatment of cancer, as she sat down with Jill Biden and the American Cancer Society this week to announce national meetings on breast and cervical cancer, NBC News reports.
The announcement comes after President Joe Biden and the first lady revived the “cancer moonshot” initiative earlier this year. The program provides resources and funding for research to “help us end cancer as we know it. For good.”
Blige shared earlier this week that she’s had a number of family members die from breast, cervical, and lung cancer. She believes that her aunts, godmother, and grandparents “would have a different outcome today” had they been properly informed about cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, Black women, on average, are diagnosed with breast cancer at around age 60, but they have a higher chance than their white counterparts of developing the disease before 40. Ryland J. Gore, M.D., an Atlanta breast surgical oncologist, said Black women should start getting annual screenings as early as 35 and begin consulting with their doctor at age 30, especially for those with a family history of breast cancer.
“I think that there’s fear associated with getting mammograms,” Gore said, noting that many women are afraid of getting screened because they are fearful of the results. “I do want to make sure women know that the overwhelming majority of biopsies are benign,” she added. “You should get your screening mammogram starting at 40 years of age, and this should happen every single year.”
The initiative aims to encourage collaboration and research, fund new treatments and therapies, and help people and their loved ones get the best care and support in their fight against cancer, the first lady said.
Biden said the administration hopes to foster “a future where we don’t have to be afraid of the word cancer anymore.”
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