Mary J. Blige and Jill Biden team up for cancer prevention

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration’s initiative to boost cancer prevention and treatment received a dose of celebrity support Monday when the singer Mary J. Blige joined Jill Biden and the American Cancer Society to announce national meetings on breast and cervical cancer.

The cancer society pledged to call the events after President Joe Biden and the first lady resurrected the initiative “moon shot against cancer” This year. The program provides more money for research to, as Jill Biden put it, “help us end cancer as we know it. For real.”

R&B superstar Blige has said she has lost aunts and other family members to breast, cervical and lung cancer. She has promoted breast cancer screening, especially among black women who are disproportionately affected, through the black women’s health imperative.

On Monday, Blige blamed misconceptions about mammograms for black women and “the practice of not wanting other people in our business” for disparities in breast cancer outcomes between blacks and whites.

She said she was convinced that if her aunts, godmother and grandparents had known about the cancer, “they would have a different outcome today”. She stopped several times to stay calm.

The first lady reached Blige as the Grammy Award-winning singer returned to her seat. They held hands for several minutes before Biden, whose adult son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015, thanked Blige for “lending your powerful voice to this cause.”

The first lady said the administration’s cancer control initiative will help encourage collaboration and research, invest in new treatments and therapies, and help people get the best care and support for their relatives.

She said it was about creating “a future where we don’t have to be afraid of cancer anymore”.

The American Cancer Society said the roundtables will bring together doctors, scientists and other professionals with leading organizations to work to make progress against cancer. They are to start this week, said Karen Knudsen, the CEO.

Breast cancer is the number one cancer in women and the number one cause of death among black and Latino women. More than 14,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year, resulting in more than 4,000 deaths, she said.

Knudsen said the meetings will help “end breast and cervical cancer as we know it for everyone.”

Since becoming first lady, Jill Biden has traveled the country to learn about advances in cancer research and encourage people, especially women, to catch up on the screenings they skipped during the pandemic.

Her cancer advocacy began in the 1990s, after four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer.

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