Former BET Host Ananda Lewis Teams Up With Gilead Sciences To Discuss Her Breast Cancer Journey

Former MTV/BET veejay Ananda Lewis is partnering with Gilead Sciences to ensure that quality healthcare is provided in all communities, AfroTech reports. Lewis’ platform is centered on how to keep your faith while battling what could be a fatal disease.

At Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman Festival in May 2023, Lewis, a breast cancer survivor, teamed up with Gilead, a festival sponsor, to continue the conversation. Lewis says working with the research-based biopharmaceutical company is a “full-circle moment” for her.

“When I found out that Gilead Sciences is committed to advancing health and Black equity, those two things together, advancing health and Black equity, are exactly what I’m trying to do,” Lewis said. “They’re doing the work. Their money is where their mouth is, and I respect companies like that.”

In 2020, Lewis announced she had been battling stage three breast cancer for nearly two years. At the Strength of a Woman festival, she reminded women to put themselves first when it comes to their health. “For me, prevention is the cure, and I want women to understand that every single day, having faith in God, for me, means taking care of what God created,” Lewis told the guests.

According to the American Cancer Society, Black women have a 4% lower rate of breast cancer than white women but still have a 40% higher chance of dying from this cancer. However, studies show that lifestyle changes prevent nearly 30% of breast cancers. Being active, keeping a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol intake can help.

Gilead Sciences Senior Director Omoro Omoighe says the company is working to create homegrown solutions for the challenges Black women face in the healthcare industry. “At Gilead, we are all about thinking through how we can not just have a transactional conversation and engagement with the community, but really, a transformative one, and so this conference, for us, is all about widening the table,” said Omoighe. “We believe that communities have the solutions for the challenges that face them, especially Black women.”