By Danielle Kwateng-Clark
Ten years ago Robin Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer. Having been in broadcast for over twenty years prior, she was familiar with the intensity of being a black woman in a white male-dominated field, but fighting cancer was a whole different ballgame.
In her new five-part web series with WebMD titled Advanced Breast Cancer: Courage, Comfort and Care with Robin Roberts, the breast cancer survivor intends to shed light on the importance of early detection, support and treatment options for those diagnosed.
“We completed several series for WebMD on a variety of health subjects but this series represented a chance for us to take a deep look at the many facets of breast cancer treatment and survivorship,” Roberts told ESSENCE.
“From personal experience with the disease, I know there’s a lot of fear associated with breast cancer, especially when a patient is first diagnosed and when the disease has already reached an advanced stage— I also felt the series could help people learn how to better cope with the fear and anxiety, and offer them hope for their future.”
While over 255,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year and over 41,000 will die —with metastatic breast cancer being the leading cause of those fatalities— an alarming majority are African-American women.
“There’s a lot of great education and many resources geared toward African Americans and breast health, but so many women don’t know it’s out there and available to them— so this is in some way, a call to action,” Roberts said.
Zeroing in on personal stories while dropping valuable information is the winning combination to address the disease with deep compassion. Roberts, who has always been vocal about the importance of her support circle, wants to make it clear: you do not have to suffer alone.
“I think the common thread is that no patient can or should go through breast cancer alone. Those who are surrounded by supportive family, friends and caregivers who specialize in breast cancer often show the greatest results when it comes to survivorship,” the Good Morning America anchor said.
“I am hopeful that we see a single cure in our lifetimes, and it’s exciting for us to highlight in this series the medical advances that are inching us closer to a cure. Until a single cure is discovered, we need to continue educating the general public, including underserved communities about the benefits of early detection and a preventative, well-rounded lifestyle of physical, emotional and nutritional health.”