Celebrities with Cancer: An Annoying "Trend"

Why am I so turned off when I hear about yet another celebrity has been diagnosed with breast cancer?  I have no interest in hearing celebrities who have been diagnosed with cancer tell their stories.  Maybe it's because I know I totally will not relate to them.  Their famous lives are already so far apart from mine; how could their cancer story even possibly be close to mine?  Come on, Sheryl Crow--appearing in a hair color commercial so soon after you had breast cancer treatment?  Did you even have chemo like the rest of us?  Or are those only hair extensions?

Tennis pro Martina Navratilova, diagnosed with breast cancer, has received a great prognosis. Her cancer is noninvasive, which means it is contained to her milk ducts, and can easily be treated. She said about her diagnosis, "It was such a shock for me. It was my 9/11." I know how devastating a diagnosis of breast cancer can be; after all, I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was only 27. However, 9/11 was such a catastrophic event for our whole country and thousands lost their lives. Isn't this statement a little over dramatic?

I have deliberately not read anything about Christina Applegate's fight with cancer.  She's in the news again, and this time she's pregnant.  (Okay, I did read about her pregnancy.) Why haven't I wanted to read about her struggles?  I think she's ultra-cute and I love her hair.  I think her show, Samantha Who? was an absolute hoot.  If the stories I see online were for pictures of Christina on the red carpet, would I look at them?  Absolutely!

I should be fascinated with these celebrities, shouldn't I?  They bring attention to breast cancer, which can only be good.  More attention means more money to fund research and other breast cancer causes such as early detection.  Celebs with cancer become advocates, start foundations, and give support to cancer charities.  I should be overjoyed that celebs with cancer make the news, right?

But somehow, I just don't feel that way.  I could tell you it's because I don't want others to have to go through cancer like I did.  That's certainly true for people I know and love.  When a friend called to tell me that she, too, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and she was only 29, I burst into tears.  I'm heart-broken that my mom lost her fight with breast cancer last November at the age of 67.  Celebs?  Sorry, no sympathy here.

That sounds very callous, doesn't it?  This isn't the girl that had people write "Stay sweet!" in her high school yearbook.

I think the answer is plain--jealousy.

Here they are--getting cancer and getting so much attention for it.  Yeah, yeah, you're brave, oh, what you must be going through, blah, blah, blah.

Inside I'm thinking, "What about me?  I was only 27 years old!  People aren't knocking down my door, giving me interviews to tell me how courageous I am!"  Sometimes I feel like most people I know don't even remember that I had cancer.

When I reflect on my current, cancer-free life, this jealousy is so unnecessary.  My family thinks I'm brave.  I know that I've moved on from cancer, gotten married and am now a mother--the most cherished career I could have.

So cheer up, Sheryl and Christina--you probably know this already, but breast cancer doesn't ruin your life.  Maybe someday, people will forget that you've had breast cancer.  And really, isn't that the place where we survivors really want to be, anyway?

And don't feel bad if you want to read about celebrities with cancer. After you read about them, be inspired to DO SOMETHING! Join Army of Women, and help them reach their goal of recruiting one million women in the fight against breast cancer. Currently, 336,261 women have signed on. Or Click to Give free mammograms to women in need and read inspiring stories from real women with breast cancer. Do you feel like breast cancer gets too much attention? At the Breast Cancer Site, there are also links to help fight hunger and save the rainforest, along with some other good causes.

Tell us: Do you know some other websites that make a difference?


Ginny Marie blogs at Lemon Drop Pie