What Benjamin Bratt Hopes Women Can Learn From His Wife's Cancer Diagnosis

Actor Benjamin Bratt revealed this week that his wife, Talisa Soto, was diagnosed with breast cancer during the pandemic (via Yahoo News). "This is something I typically would keep close-held, but through the pandemic, through self-exam and then by going to her yearly mammogram, she discovered that she was positive for breast cancer," Bratt said. Soto has been undergoing treatment and is reportedly responding well.

Bratt noted that he hopes people can learn from his wife's experience and take preventative measures seriously. He said that his wife wanted people to remember "that it's important to get your screenings yearly, that you have to self-advocate for yourself and take care of yourself. Not just eating well, but you have to get to the doctor and make these exams a part of your regular life." It is recommended that women ages 40 to 54 should get mammograms every year if possible and women 55 and older should get mammograms every 2 years (via American Cancer Society).

What to know about breast cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women. Like other types of cancer, this condition occurs when genes mutate in the body and cause unregulated cell growth (via Healthline). All women are at risk of developing breast cancer as they get older. "These risk factors for breast cancer are beyond your control," said Anees Chagpar, MD, MPH, a breast cancer expert and assistant director for Global Oncology at Yale Cancer Center. "However, there are risk factors you can control, such as watching your weight, being physically active, and limiting alcohol consumption" (via Yale School of Medicine).

While breast cancer does have physical symptoms like lumps in the breast, skin changes, and nipple discharge, it is often asymptomatic and will only show up during a mammogram. This is why it is so important for women over 40 to begin getting yearly mammograms. Breast cancer is easier to treat in its early stages, which means that getting regular preventative screenings can increase your likelihood of successful treatment significantly.