Breast cancer survivor, model, writer and long-time sex health educator Ericka Hart took to Instagram this week to demonstrate an important hot girl survival skill — breast self-exams.
Right before dancing to Meg Thee Stallion’s “Big Ole Freak,” Hart is seen palpating both of her breasts in circular motions, ensuring that she checks for anything that feels unfamiliar. The one-minute Instagram video has gained over 95,000 views and hundreds of comments.
Her caption reads, “I found out I had breast cancer after doing self-exams since I was 13. I only noticed something felt suspicious because I had been doing them for so long.” She found a lump and was diagnosed by the age of 28.
For American women, breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer, affecting about one in eight U.S. women. Although the mortality rates are generally declining, they remain the second-highest among any other cancers. BreastCancer.org says, “These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.” Additionally, a study has even shown that “despite increased use of screening mammography, a large percentage of breast cancers are detected by the patients themselves.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, ”African American women are much more likely than white women to die of breast cancer,” so it is especially powerful for Hart to be apart of the push for awareness. Last year, Ericka told Yahoo that many breast cancer-related commercials tend to center white women, but that "breast cancer can happen to anybody, so you want to be seen in advocacy campaigns,” regarding media representation.
Her Instagram comments section has been overflowing with messages from other survivors. One user said: “When my mom taught me at 13, I found an abnormality the day after and ended up getting a benign tumor removed by the age of 14. I [love] that you included the age you started checking because a lot of people think that breast cancer only affects older people.” She also thanked Hart for including “chest exams” in her caption, acknowledging that males can also develop breast cancer — a widely unknown fact.
Celebrities have been weighing in as well. Cynthia Erivo, star of the upcoming Harriet Tubman movie, said, “This is extremely helpful!! A pamphlet doesn’t show how to do this properly!! Will be doing this today. Thank you for taking the taboo away. It’s likely that you’ve saved a few lives today.”
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