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During an interview with PEOPLE’s Everyday podcast, powerhouse vocalist Jazmine Sullivan opened up about her mother’s battle with breast cancer. The star revealed that she was inspired to make a drastic change with her own health after her mother was diagnosed.

“It’s scary to have gone through this with your parent and to know that you’re more at risk, but what I have learned is that information is key, and knowing earlier can do so much more good than harm,” she explained.

Sullivan, 34, launched her More Than Just Words Initiative alongside Novartis just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The singer said she wants to provide resources and solutions for Breast Cancer victims experiencing disparities with treatment, screenings, and overall healthcare. Black women are disproportionately impacted by Breast Cancer the most. According to the African American Women & Breast Cancer organization, Black women have a “31% Breast Cancer mortality rate-_the highest of any U.S. racial or ethnic group.”

Sullivan shared that her work with More Than Just Words has forced her to have some tough conversations about healthcare with her family and friends.

“We’re all in our early 30s, where we would normally talk about our love lives and things like that,” she continued. “We are now including our health because it’s a pressing issue and you want to make sure that you’re holding the people accountable that you love, and that they’re holding you accountable and making sure that you all are taking care of yourselves. We didn’t talk a lot about health growing up. I didn’t hear a lot about it even in school growing up. These are conversations that we have to have for our own well being and I just want to be a part of Black women surviving.”

 

RELATED CONTENT: 10 Ways To Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

Fans of the Heaux Tales crooner shared mixed reactions last year when Sullivan posted a picture of her new physique while on the set of her music video for “LOST ONE.” Following the chatter and praise from fans, the Grammy nominee shared that she had slimmed down to an astonishing size 12.

“Last week some people dragged me saying I look sickly. I’m honestly a size 12. 180 lbs,” Sullivan wrote via her Instagram stories at the time. “There’s nothing skinny abt me but my neck. I’m 5’8 however, so I sometimes photograph a little leaner than I am. But I ain’t skinny and that was never my goal.”

The singer also revealed that she had transitioned to a vegan diet to support her mother’s cancer journey, something that she said she felt “really good about it.”

“I have a lot of things to work on in my journey and am not nearly the model for health and fitness. But I’m trying… And I’ll continue to do so w my momma!” Sullivan added.

It’s important to see your doctor for regular checks up’s and annual breast cancer screenings if you or your family has a history of Breast Cancer. The Centers For Disease Control suggests that women between the ages of 40 to 44 should begin scheduling an annual mammogram. Know the signs! If you are experiencing unusual discharge around the nipple, irritation, pain, or swelling around the breasts, it’s important to consult with your physician.

Here are some other potential Breast Cancer signs.

  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast

 

For more information on Breast Cancer Awareness and how you can get involved with fighting back against the disease, visit The National Breast Cancer Foundation.

 

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