Ananda Lewis, 47, took to Instagram on Thursday to share that she has been battling stage 3 breast cancer for the past two years.
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the former MTV veejay and host of BET’s “Teen Summit” who at one point hosted her own daytime talk show, decided to open up about her cancer diagnosis. She hopes that by sharing her story, women will be inspired to go get screened for cancer.
“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,” she captioned her post.
She began her video message by apologizing to friends and family who may not have been aware of her diagnosis and are finding out about it on social media.
“For a really long time, I have refused mammograms, and that was a mistake,” she continued. “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.’”
Lewis stands by her belief in the research showing that exposure to radiation causes cancer and admits she made a mistake in not getting mammograms when they were recommended to her, beginning at age 40. If she had gotten the mammograms, she would’ve been exposed to less radiation.
“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 scans so far. Guess how many mammograms worth of radiation a PET scan is. Anyone? 30! 30! So 60 mammograms! You do the math.”
“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,” the former host said. “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.”
Since being diagnosed, Lewis has pursued a natural and alternative treatment that has helped stop the cancer from “spreading like wildfire.” She revealed that although the cancer has not spread, it’s not gone either, and she has a long road ahead. She tearfully talked about not wanting to leave her 9-year-old son, her family, or her friends.
“I have a nine-year-old I need to be here for, and I have no intention on leaving him,” she said. “I don’t want to leave any of my kids. And I don’t want to leave my friends or my family. Hell, I don’t want to leave myself. I like being here!”
Lewis asked her followers to share the video with women they know who may be as “stubborn” as her. To share it with women who may be avoiding getting a mammogram done. She cautions that the consequences of not getting a mammogram can be severe, and getting one could save your life.