Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam’s Lisa Velez reveals she hid having breast cancer at 21

 Lisa Velez opens up about surviving breast cancer while touring the country as the frontwoman of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.

Lisa Lisa Velez, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, breast cancer survivor, theGrio.com
Lisa Lisa Velez attends the 2021 Galaxy Of Wishes at Disneyland Park on December 07, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

While Lisa Velez was skyrocketing to stardom in the 1980s with hits like “Can You Feel the Beat” and “I Wonder If I Take You Home” as the frontwoman of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, she was secretly battling breast cancer. 

During a recent appearance on the “Tamron Hall” show, the breast cancer survivor opened up about hiding her chemotherapy treatments while on tour at the age of 21.

“It was hard to talk about back then,” the 57-year-old explained to Hall. “It was hard because there was no one to speak on it.”

Velez said while on tour, she’d have to hide her treatment packs and their effects on her body under her clothes.

She added, “The guys used to ask me, ‘Are you gaining weight? Are you pregnant?’ I was like, ‘No I’m going through chemo.’ No one knew. I had to hide it basically; my mom didn’t even know.”

Velez recalled discovering bruises on the side of her breasts one day while on tour that led her to go see a doctor.

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“So on a stop during a nine-month tour, I went and got checked, and my oncologist said ‘you have ductal carcinoma,’” she said.

According to Johns Hopkins, ductal carcinoma in situ is a form of cancer that develops inside the milk ducts. Per the American Cancer Society, this form impacts one in five women diagnosed with breast cancer. In general, next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States. The American Cancer Society also reports that roughly one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year

While speaking to the New York Post recently, Velez said after the tumors were removed she underwent reconstructive surgery followed by 16 weeks of chemotherapy. During that time, she said she was constantly sick and lost her hair, though she kept getting up onstage and performing night after night.

“It was really, really hard,” she told Hall. “I didn’t know what to do, who to speak to. My doctor was like, ‘You should not be on tour,’ and I said, ‘I have to work because I have bills to pay.’” 


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