Raising awareness. Teen Mom 2 star Leah Messer bravely documents her breast cancer scare on the upcoming season 11 of the hit MTV series. She exclusively reveals to In Touch why it was a “difficult” decision for her to share her women’s health journey on the show.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to film and I was afraid that they would make that my entire season. And it just was something that I felt like I wanted to handle in privacy, alone,” Leah, 29, explains ahead of the season 11 premiere on Tuesday, May 4.

The West Virginia native reveals a conversation she had with daughter Addie’s paternal grandmother is part of what helped to persuade her to open up about the health scare on camera.

“She’s a breast cancer survivor herself,” Leah reveals about Addie’s grandma. “And she was like, ‘Leah, this is something that I think you really should talk about on camera.’ And I was like, ‘OK, I’m doing it for you all.’ It was difficult. And it was concerning. And it was a lot of emotions that [were] coming up for me around that time. So I just, I don’t know. I think it’s important to talk about [it] when it revolves around women’s health. And it’s something that I’m very passionate about having three daughters, so.”

teen mom 2 leah messer daughters separate school covid
Courtesy Leah Messer/Instagram

In a preview clip for the upcoming season, Leah reveals she found a lump in her right breast while performing a self-check. “I mean, it was definitely concerning,” Leah says about how she was feeling when she found the mass. “But through the entire process, I tried to remain optimistic. Because I never want to speak anything into existence.”

“There were so many possibilities of what it could be, but at the end of the day, whatever it was, I was going to make it through it. I was going to be resilient. I was going to be strong,” Leah adds. “I was going to make sure that I was remaining someone that my girls could look up to.”

Later in the clip, the Hope, Grace, & Faith author had a talk with her older daughters, Aliannah and Aleeah, about the importance of self-checking and showed them how to perform a self-exam. Leah explains she wasn’t worried that her twins, 11, were “too young” for the discussion about feminine health.

“I think that it’s always important, especially with our daughters, that we keep an open communication with them about everything that their bodies are going through,” she says. “My girls are going into middle school this year. So it’s something that I would much rather them hear from me. When I was in health class in middle school, they didn’t teach us any of that, about how important our health [is] as women [and] little girls. So I think them knowing that I had a lump on my breasts, it was a prime time to kind of have that conversation with them. And that’s why I did … They were very receptive too.”

Reporting by Laura Rizzo

Teen Mom 2 season 11 premieres on MTV Tuesday, May 4, at 8 p.m. ET.

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