Former MTV/BET Host Ananda Lewis Has Stage 3 Breast Cancer
The former mainstay host on television networks MTV and BET Ananda Lewis has been dealing with a private health battle over the past few years. She apparently decided to speak out about it on Friday (October 2) when she shared a 6 minute and 31-second video on her Instagram. She captioned the video:
This is tough for me to share, but if just ONE woman decides to get her mammogram after watching this, what I’m going through will be worth it. PRACTICE EARLY DETECTION Share this with a woman you love. These 6 minutes could help save her life.
Ananda Lewis started her video with an apology to her loved ones who would learn of her stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis via social media. She indicated that she wanted to share her experience in honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month:
That phrase ‘Don’t talk about it be about it,’ that’s been my life for almost two years and honestly, there’s nothing any of you could have done so I apologize if you felt like I excluded you. It wasn’t personal, it was just something I needed.
Ananda Lewis went on to explain that for the past two years, she’s been fighting the disease. She says that had she not been stubborn and gotten her mammograms at the suggested time (women are encouraged to begin receiving mammograms each year beginning at age 40), the tumor that was in her breast could have been detected earlier and treatment could have begun at that time:
If I had done the mammograms from the time they were recommended when I turned 40, they would’ve caught the tumor in my breast years before I caught it through my own self-exam and thermography. 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 easy, 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.
The 47-year-old said that she equated mammograms to the receipt of breast cancer after she said her mother developed it after getting her mammograms done yearly. She said that as a result, she refused to get mammograms. However, she also said that although she does stand by her belief that radiation exposure sets up a higher risk for cancer, she now believes it was a mistake for her to NOT get mammograms. Ananda said that since her diagnosis, she’s had to undergo two positron emission tomography (PET) scans which have much more radiation in them than mammograms:
What I didn’t understand, and what I need you to understand, the reason why I’m here telling you my business, is because I would have had three or four mammograms by the time they caught it. Instead, I’ve had to have 2 PET [positron emission tomography] scans so far. Guess how many mammograms worth of radiation a PET scan is. Anyone? 30! 30! So 60 mammograms! You do the math.
PET scans are only performed following a breast cancer diagnosis to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Ananda pleaded with her viewers to not follow the same path she did. She said she’s been using alternative and natural medicine treatments which she says has been helpful to keep the cancer from spreading like “wildfire.” However, the heart of her message seemed to focus on the benefit of early detection and she implored viewers to share her video with those who may be hesitant to get a mammogram:
Early detection, especially for breast cancer, changes your outcome. It can save your life.
Watch Ananda’s full video here:
Our well-wishes and prayers go out to Ananda Lewis and her family and friends as she continues to fight this disease.