Elizabeth Hurley Shares How Her Grandmother's Death Showed Her the Importance of Mammograms

The actress is spreading awareness about lifesaving breast cancer screenings because of her personal connection to the disease.

Welcome to Deep Dives, a new Health video series where inspiring people talk about a health topic that's meaningful to them and share relatable stories around health and wellness. Watch Elizabeth Hurley's Deep Dive above!

British Actress Elizabeth Hurley, 56, realized she wanted to be involved with breast cancer awareness after her grandmother died of the disease. "We'd lost my grandmother to breast cancer, [and] this was a time when nobody talked about breast cancer, knew anything about breast cancer," Hurley tells Health.

She explains that her grandmother found a lump in her breast but didn't immediately seek medical attention: "She'd found the lump herself. She hadn't told anyone for some time because she had been scared. And when she finally was diagnosed, she sat on it for too long. The treatment she had wasn't successful."

Her grandmother's death inspired her to become an advocate, spreading the word about the dangers of breast cancer and that lifesaving screenings can catch it at an earlier, more curable stage. "I just knew it was something I wanted to be involved with," Hurley says, adding that she has two close friends who are survivors of breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, women ages 40 to 44 should have access to an annual mammogram if they want it, while women ages 45 to 54 are advised to have a mammogram annually. Women 55 and older should get a mammogram once every two years.

As of May 2023, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that cisgender women and people assigned female at birth get mammograms every two years beginning at age 40.

"When you get a mammogram, don't be frightened. It's so important to know you're doing the very best thing you can, she says. "If you've been diligent, if you've checked your own breasts, if you have regular mammograms once you're of an age, it's to be hoped that if the worst scenario happens, you've caught it early. Therefore, you can know that, statistically, you have a good chance of survival."

Watch the rest of Hurley's deep dive in the video above.

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