Gabrielle Union has been an loud advocate for breast cancer awareness and early screening, especially since she lost a close friend due to the disease. Because of a lack of proper health care and knowledge, Kristen Martinez was diagnosed with stage 4 metastasized breast cancer when she was 32 years old and died five years later, but not before doing all she could to teach others how to be proactive about their own health.
"Today, her memory is the driving force behind my commitment to increase awareness about breast cancer, especially among young women and women of color," Union writes on the Huffington Post.
She shares the scary facts that more than 11,000 out of the 250,000 that get diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the U.S. are under the age of 40. In addition, Black women of color have the highest incidence of breast cancer with the lowest survival rates.
"Too many women don't get breast exams or follow up on abnormalities, usually because they can't afford it or they are afraid of what they'll learn. We have to make it easier for women of all ages to get the breast care they need."
To help with this mission, Union and Planned Parenthood announced the organization's expansion of services for more breast exams, education and specialized services that will provide affordable care for young and low-income women. The Affordable Care Act, which went into effect August 1, also removes co-pays and deductibles from the equation when a woman goes in for breast exams and mammograms.
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