Mary J. Blige is leading a new breast cancer campaign aimed at black Americans after confessing she ignored testing and mammograms until she was 40.
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mary hopes to bring attention to screenings and preventative care to save lives.
Taking part in a panel discussion organized by bosses at Hologic, the company behind the 3D Mammogram exam, earlier this week, Mary urged women of color to set aside medical mistrust and negative experiences with doctors and make sure they stay on top of cancer check-ups.
“My aunt died from breast cancer, and my grandmother died from cervical cancer, and one of my aunts just died from lung cancer,” Mary J. Blige said. “What happens is they end up in the hospital, and there’s no one in our families speaking about it when we’re younger.
“I didn’t know about breast cancer or mammograms until I was 40, and I was in the music business, and I was trying to take care of myself. My body started talking, so I started listening. I found out about it at the GYN (gynecologist). They don’t discuss this when we’re children. They don’t say, ‘Go get a mammogram.’ You learn about this as you get older.
“They don’t speak about it, and that’s why they end up in the hospital with two weeks to live, and now you know about it. That’s why it’s extremely important to me. I’m here to let women know, no matter how scary it is or who’s telling you it’s scary, take care of you. Take care of your health… I want to help women heal from breast cancer. I want to help us feel beautiful all the way around.”