Elizabeth Hurley, 57, began getting annual mammograms at age 40. Now at 57, she urges women to get theirs “religiously.”
The supermodel has been a global ambassador for The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign for 27 years, helping raise awareness and funds for cancer research.
Her grandmother died of the disease when it was “taboo” to talk about it, which is why she’s so passionate about spreading the word.
One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetimes, according to BreastCancer.org, which is why Elizabeth Hurley is so passionate about raising breast cancer awareness, and why she specifically urges women to get annual mammograms “religiously.”
Hurley has been a global ambassador for The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign for the last 27 years. She joined the effort shortly after her grandmother died of the disease.
“She was diagnosed at a time when nobody spoke about it. She didn’t tell us she was sick for a year,” she told People, adding that she was “diagnosed at a time when she was embarrassed to even talk to her doctor. It was just taboo.”
Hurley, 57, began getting her own mammograms at 40 after Evelyn Lauder, Estée Lauder’s daughter-in-law, gifted her with an inaugural appointment for her birthday. “She made me promise to have regular mammograms after that, and to always think of them in June, my birth month, which I do,” she explained. “Evelyn preached self-detection for those too young for mammograms. She always said women have to be taught at puberty, ideally by a doctor, to check their own breasts—every month, religiously.”
The minimum age requirement for mammograms has become a subject of some debate, but the American Cancer Society says that women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to begin regular screening, those between 45 and 54 should get mammograms every year, and women over 55 can choose to get screened every two years or stick with annual checkups.
Because breast cancer runs in Hurley’s family, she’s adamant about getting mammograms every year. And she’s passionate about raising awareness for the progress cancer research has made.
“Some people will still think breast cancer is a death sentence, whereas, in fact, we know it’s 90% curable if found early. People need to know that,” she said. “They also need to know that if they ignore it, if they don’t self-check, if they don’t have regular mammograms when they’re of suitable age, it could still be very bad. It’s not rosy.”
The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation has funded more than $108 million of cancer research, and Hurley is hopeful that the efforts are a step toward getting rid of breast cancer for good. “Mortality rates have dropped more than 40 percent since 1989, but women are still dying—and that’s why we’re still trying,” she said. “Breast cancer doesn't discriminate. So it’s up to all of us to help find that cure.”
Hurley’s heartfelt post comes just weeks after Olivia Newton-John died from complications of the disease. And with cancer cases increasing in people under 50, it’s never too early to begin preventative measures. So, take Hurley’s advi e
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