The ‘Gossip Girl’ actress shares her deep passion for breast cancer awareness and how she plans to spread the message to almost all communities.
October is marked as breast cancer awareness month. The disease claims 42,000 women's lives every year in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are numerous initiatives in place to raise awareness about self-checks, routine mammograms and treatment options for breast cancer and one such initiative is the the Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign. Elizabeth Hurley, who spearheads as its brand ambassador for 28 years, says she has become a "breast cancer bully" for her family and friends because she doesn't want them to suffer from his disease at all, according to PEOPLE.
Breast cancer is a topic still hushed up in many households. Hurley shared that amongst her friends and family, she’s known as the “breast cancer bully” because she’s always pushing them to get themselves regularly screened. She shared her grandmother’s story, who found a lump in the early ‘90s but stayed quiet for a long time. “She finally told a doctor, was embarrassed, was ashamed, didn't want to speak about it. Therefore, we didn't know anything about her treatments. We didn't know anything. She died. She had a mastectomy, but she died and we just didn't know anything,” she said. She further explained that for some girls belonging to different communities, it is still a challenge to bring up and have these conversations in front of the male members. “Before Evelyn Lauder co-invented the pink ribbon way back in the early '90s, we also didn't speak about it at home. Let's not forget — there was no pink ribbon. There was no Breast Cancer Awareness month,” she said, emphasizing that change “will take time.”
The 58-year-old British actress spoke to the outlet and shared her hopes, goals and expectations from the campaign. She revealed that every year the most special part of the awareness campaign is the stories of the people, indirectly or directly, affected by it. She said, “Every year more women speak to me and tell me they've been diagnosed, or people will speak to me — they could be male or female — and say they've lost their mother or their wife or their sister. And I hear it a lot, which just makes each year special.” This year the biggest achievement in terms of breast cancer research and treatment was the increased knowledge about the behaviours of different types of breast cancers. “I've learned how treatments now are so much more targeted than they were 28 years ago when I started, where scientists knew so much less about the individual types of breast cancer,” she said.
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She further added that there is more information on how the disease affects different groups of women. Hurley said that she learned that breast cancer has a disproportionate effect on black women and to research more in that area, Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Fund is donating $15 million. Having been a part of the Estée Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Campaign for almost three decades, Hurley is most proud of being able to get the message across to the people that they get themselves checked. “When somebody comes up to me and says, 'Saw you talking about that. I did what you said and to my horror have found a lump myself,' or something similar. When that happens, it's a very good feeling,” she shared.
The "Gossip Girl" actress who has been advocating passionately for preventive breast cancer checks and screenings, shared her most anticipated part of the campaign: scientists. She said, “I'm always looking forward to news from scientists. Research is so incredibly important to us.” She shared that she looks forward to new information and breakthroughs in research so much so that she likes to converse with the scientists herself.