October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and TV host and personality Ananda Lewis has revealed that she’s battling stage 3 breast cancer for two years now, and she’s sharing her story as a cautionary tale for women.
Lewis, 47, shared thew news in a video message on Instagram, where she opened by apologizing to her friends and family members who might be hurt that she was speaking about her diagnosis publicly first. Lewis has been battling her
“For a really long time, I have refused mammograms, and that was a mistake,” said Lewis, the former host of BET’s Teen Summit and The Ananda Lewis Show. “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.’”
Although Lewis stands by her beliefs that too much radiation can cause cancer, she says she wants women to understand that mammograms are still one of the most powerful tools they can have in early detection and she wishes that she’d gotten one sooner. Because she waited, Lewis revealed that after her diagnosis she had to have two Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans done, which subjected her body to more radiation.
“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,” Lewis 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.”
Lewis also revealed that she chose an alternative treatment route after her diagnosis. “I have been doing 1000 percent alternative and natural protocols and treatments and I have helped this particular condition not spread like wildfire through my body,” Lewis said while she paused to fight back tears. “That’s good news, but it’s not gone, and I still have a lot of work to do. And, I wish I could go back.”
Lewis promised her fans that she hasn’t given up and she isn’t letting breast cancer steal her joy: “I have a nine-year-old I need to be here for,” she said. “I have no intention on leaving him. I don’t want to leave any of my kids. I don’t want to leave my friends or my family. Hell, I don’t want to leave myself. I like being here. So, listen, this is not how this was supposed to go but I’m just going to keep it real with you like I always do.”
Lewis then called on everyone watching to do something for her. “I need you to share this with the women in your life who may be as stubborn as I was about mammograms and I need you to tell them that they have to do it,” Lewis insisted. “Early detection, especially for breast cancer, changes your outcome. It can save their life.”
Now that Lewis has revealed her diagnosis, she’s vowed to be more open with her fans and share more updates going forward.
“For me it was important to come to you and admit where I went wrong with this, because it could help you or someone you know,” said Lewis. “This is an ongoing journey for me.”
Learn more about the different types of breast cancer screenings here.