Jill Biden

Jill Biden urges women to get mammograms or other cancer exams during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The first lady is a longtime advocate for breast cancer education and prevention

Joe Biden, Jill Biden
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Jill Biden is urging women to consult their doctors about getting mammograms or other cancer screenings, saying in a new public service announcement for Breast Cancer Awareness Month that early detection saves lives.

“October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I'm asking you to put your health first,” the first lady says in the 30-second spot recorded amid flower blooms in the White House Rose Garden.

“Take a moment to talk to your doctor about whether it's time for your mammogram or other cancer screenings,” she says in the announcement airing this week on the Lifetime cable network. "There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but we know that early detection of cancer saves lives.”

Biden's ad is part of an annual breast cancer awareness campaign by Lifetime, according to the cable network. A separate public service announcement featuring similar messages from actor Keshia Knight Pulliam and TV correspondent Rachel Lindsay will also be broadcast by the network.

The first lady is a longtime advocate for breast cancer education and prevention dating to 1993, when four of her friends were diagnosed with the disease. Shortly afterward, she launched the Biden Breast Health Initiative to teach high school girls in Delaware about the importance of early detection.

In the White House, she and her husband, President Joe Biden, are driving efforts to prevent more than 4 million cancer deaths by 2047 and improve the experience for people who are touched by cancer, including patients, their families and their caregivers.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in U.S. women after skin cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breast cancer deaths have declined over time but remain the second leading cause of cancer death among women overall, the CDC said.

One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

The first lady is among the millions of people in the U.S. who have been touched by cancer.

Earlier this year, she had cancerous lesions removed from above her right eye and her chest. In 2015, she and the president lost their 46-year-old son, Beau, to brain cancer.

Ann-Marie Appiah Swatson remembers feeling a lump in her breast and getting tested. Thankfully, it was benign - but she says it shows the importance for young women of color to know their genetic history and get tested. She's the founder of nonprofit Painted Pink, encouraging just that.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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