Remembering Singer and Activist Nina Simone Dying from Breast Cancer 18 Years Old Today; What are the Screening Options for this Disease?

Remembering Nina

  • Nina Simone battled breast cancer for several years before dying from this disease in her home in France in 2003; she was 70 years old.
  • Breast cancer screening is typically done through a mammogram, which looks for lumps in breast tissue.
  • Women should also perform self-exams at home to check for lumps.

Legendary singer and activist Nina Simone died of breast cancer 18 years ago today at her home in France. She was 70 at the time of her death.

Studio portrait of American jazz pianist and singer Nina Simone (1933 – 2003). (Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Simone is best known for her soul-stirring voice that pushed out hits like Feeling good a I Put a Spell on you. Simone used the turbulence of the ’60s as fodder for her music and to speak on racial inequality.

After the 1963 church bombing that killed four young black women in Birmingham, Ala., And the murder of Medgar Evers, Simone wrote Mississippi Goddam, his lyric included the lines: “Oh but this whole country is full of lies, You are all going to die and die like flies.”

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he recorded Why? The King of Love Is Dead.

Tryon, a North Carolina native, battled breast cancer for several years before dying from the disease. She passed away in her sleep while at her home in Carry-le-Rouet (Bouches-du-Rhône), on April 21, 2003.

Simone’s manager Clifton Henderson said Simone would be remembered for her activism.

“It inspired other singers to do what they believed in,” he said. “She will definitely be looked upon as a leader of a civil rights movement.”

Get a Mamogram

Simone’s passing reminds us all of the need to screen for this disease. Screen mammograms for breast cancer by searching for lumps in breast tissue and signs of cancer. In an earlier interview, Dr. Connie Lehman, head of the breast imaging department at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains this screening method and when you should perform it. “If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, I think it’s very important that you have a mammogram every year,” he said.

Related: When You Have A Mammogram, Ask For Thick Breasts

“We know that cancers are growing faster in our younger patients, and having that annual mammogram can be life-saving. After the menopause, it may be perfectly acceptable to reduce that frequency to every two years. But what I’m most concerned about are the women who haven’t been in for a mammogram for two, three, or four years, those women who have never had a mammogram. We all agree that regular screening mammography saves lives. ”

When should I have a mammogram?

Perform a Home Self-Exam

Another screening option you can do in addition to regular mammograms is to check yourself at home. The oncologist Dr. Elizabeth Comen of Memorial Sloan Kettering explains in an earlier interview how to check your breasts at home for lumps. “When we think of prevention, breast cancer prevention and awareness, the first step is that women need to feel comfortable with their breasts and know how their breasts usually feel,” he said.

“And for some women, that might mean going to their doctor and walking through what a self-breast exam might feel like they know how normal breast tissue feels, as if they are feeling anything abnormal , whether it’s a lump or a discharge from the teat, they know what to ask and what to look for, ”says Dr. Comen.

“Some women have what are called fibrocystic breasts, which means they have very lumpy, uneven breasts, and it is difficult for them to know what is normal and what is not,” explains Dr. Comen. “With that in mind, self-breast exams should probably be held monthly. It doesn’t have to be exact every month, but not right ahead of time, because their breasts can become more swollen and tender after their period. And many women say it’s easier in the shower because of the water, and it’s easier to do it in that setting. ”

Getting to Know Your Breasts with Self Exams


Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.

Remembering Nina

  • Nina Simone battled breast cancer for several years before dying from this disease in her home in France in 2003; she was 70 years old.
  • Breast cancer screening is typically done through a mammogram, which looks for lumps in breast tissue.
  • Women should also perform self-exams at home to check for lumps.

Legendary singer and activist Nina Simone died of breast cancer 18 years ago today at her home in France. She was 70 at the time of her death.

Studio portrait of American jazz pianist and singer Nina Simone (1933 – 2003). (Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Simone is best known for her soul-stirring voice that pushed out hits like Feeling good a I Put a Spell on you. Simone used the turbulence of the ’60s as fodder for her music and to speak on racial inequality.

Read more

After the 1963 church bombing that killed four young black women in Birmingham, Ala., And the murder of Medgar Evers, Simone wrote Mississippi Goddam, his lyric included the lines: “Oh but this whole country is full of lies, You are all going to die and die like flies.”

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he recorded Why? The King of Love Is Dead.

Tryon, a North Carolina native, battled breast cancer for several years before dying from the disease. She passed away in her sleep while at her home in Carry-le-Rouet (Bouches-du-Rhône), on April 21, 2003.

Simone’s manager Clifton Henderson said Simone would be remembered for her activism.

“It inspired other singers to do what they believed in,” he said. “She will definitely be looked upon as a leader of a civil rights movement.”

Get a Mamogram

Simone’s passing reminds us all of the need to screen for this disease. Screen mammograms for breast cancer by looking for lumps in breast tissue and signs of cancer. In an earlier interview, Dr. Connie Lehman, head of the breast imaging department at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains this screening method and when you should perform it. “If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, I think it’s very important that you have a mammogram every year,” he said.

Related: When You Have A Mammogram, Ask For Thick Breasts

“We know that cancers are growing faster in our younger patients, and having that annual mammogram can be life-saving. After the menopause, it may be perfectly acceptable to reduce that frequency to every two years. But what I’m most concerned about are the women who haven’t been in for a mammogram for two, three, or four years, those women who have never had a mammogram. We all agree that regular screening mammography saves lives. ”

When should I have a mammogram?

Perform a Home Self-Exam

Another screening option you can do in addition to regular mammograms is to check yourself at home. The oncologist Dr. Elizabeth Comen of Memorial Sloan Kettering explains in an earlier interview how to check your breasts at home for lumps. “When we think of prevention, breast cancer prevention and awareness, the first step is that women need to feel comfortable with their breasts and know how their breasts usually feel,” he said.

“And for some women, that might mean going to their doctor and walking through what a self-breast exam might feel like they know how normal breast tissue feels, as if they are feeling anything abnormal , whether it’s a lump or a discharge from the teat, they know what to ask and what to look for, ”says Dr. Comen.

“Some women have what are called fibrocystic breasts, which means they have very lumpy, uneven breasts, and it’s difficult for them to know what’s normal and what’s not,” explains Dr. Comen. “With that in mind, self-breast exams should probably be held monthly. It doesn’t have to be exact every month, but not right ahead of time, because their breasts can become more swollen and tender after their period. And many women say it’s easier in the shower because of the water, and it’s easier to do it in that setting. ”

Getting to Know Your Breasts with Self Exams

Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.

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