The nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer said in an interview with “Good Morning America” that highlighting the illness is important to her because of the racial disparity in breast cancer death rates.
Higher death rates from the disease for Black women are due to several factors, according to the American Cancer Society’s biennial update on female breast cancer statistics in the U.S.
Some include “later stage at diagnosis and other unfavorable tumor characteristics, higher prevalence of obesity and comorbidities, as well as less access to timely and high‐quality prevention, early detection, and treatment services.”
Blige partnered with the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI), RAD-AID and Hologic, Inc. for the P.O.W.E.R. of Sure campaign in hopes of giving women necessary information about breast cancer screening and why it’s so important.
Women who have battled the disease or who are currently battling the disease are also sharing more about their cancer journeys in the campaign.
The importance of getting screened: ‘Do it even when you’re scared’
Blige said she feels “a lot of fears and barriers” affect whether or not a woman will prioritize getting screened. After losing an aunt to breast cancer, the singer says she now believes a lack of awareness toward screening played
a role in her loved one’s battle with cancer.
“I believe if she had this information that she would be here today — the importance of a mammogram,” the singer said. “When we were growing up, no one spoke about a mammogram, breast cancer — anything like that.”
The singer recalled having many fears going into her first mammogram after losing her aunt and wondering whether it was going to hurt or if she was going to be diagnosed.
“Once I went into the office and went to the procedure, I realized that it was nothing to it,” she said. “It wasn’t painful, it was just a little discomfort on each breast for a second or two, and then it was over.”
She emphasized how she received early results following her Genius 3D Mammography exam and even called the screening “enlightening.” She also said it made her want to know more about her health.
Kimberly Wortham-Macon, a mother of three, is fighting breast cancer and is featured in the campaign along with Blige. She is also adamant about emphasizing the importance of getting checked.
She said she had been considering putting off her mammogram because of the pandemic but quickly took action and went in for a screening after feeling a lump in her right breast. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in July at the age of 40.