Gabrielle Union and Planned Parenthood Launch New Breast Cancer Initiative

by Lexi Petronis, Glamour
Gabrielle Union is a breast cancer activist. Her friend, Kristen, had pain in her breast but ignored it. By the time she was finally diagnosed, she had stage four breast cancer. A few months before she died, she turned to Gabrielle, saying:

"You have to combat this and you have to let people know that fear of the unknown will literally kill you, because it killed me.... Don't let there be anymore Kristens if you can help it," Gabrielle quoted her friend as saying.

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Now, Gabrielle has teamed up with Planned Parenthood (with the Lance Armstrong Foundation as a partner) to launch a new initiative--one they hope will catch breast cancer before it's too late. The expanded initiative comes from a slew of public donations after Susan G. Komen for the Cure stopped providing grants to Planned Parenthood (and then reinstated them) earlier this year. More than 77,000 people donated $3 million in less than four days.

According to Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood: "Early detection is critical in identifying breast cancer at its most treatable stages and saving women's lives. Ninety-four percent of our patients are under the age of 40, and for these women, clinical breast exams are key to recognizing potential problems early. This expanded program will help us provide more patients with these vital screenings, and also ensure that more patients in need can get specialized follow up care, like ultrasounds or biopsies."

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So here are the new Planned Parenthood program areas that Gabrielle and Cecile unveiled at a panel yesterday:
*Grants for follow-up diagnostic care awarded to local health centers to help cover some of the costs associated with follow-up care like ultrasounds and biopsies.
*Digital breast health educational resources specifically designed for and targeted to women ages 18 to 39.
*An expanded promotores educational and outreach program to reach Latinas.
*A new and unique tool specially designed for Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses to better assess breast cancer risk in patients--including those under 40.

Pretty big news! So have you ever turned to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings? Will you now?

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