The stars are coming out for cancer this month in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Television stars are appearing in public service announcements to promote cancer awareness. Celebrities from movies, TV and music are appearing on talk shows and granting interviews to share their personal stories about cancer. But celebrity cancer support can be a two-edged sword.
When celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Sharon Osbourne and Wanda Sykes share their personal cancer stories, people listen — and they start talking about cancer. “When a celebrity comes out about their experience with breast cancer, it really invigorates the conversation,” Nancy Healey, executive director of the Central and South Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, told the Asbury Park Press.
The downside is that the public often places undo importance on celebrity statements which can lead people to base their own cancer treatments on celebrity experiences. After Angelina Jolie discovered she carries the BRCA gene linked to increased breast cancer risk and went public with her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy, cancer treatment centers noticed an increase in mastectomy requests.
But, as Healey points out, “Breast cancer is different for everyone. It is really a question of finding out what works for you.” In other words, just because a certain cancer treatment worked for your favorite movie star or your best friend or your sister, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.
A leader in individualized immunotherapy, Issels Integrative Oncology creates personalized cancer treatment programs that are as unique as each patient’s response to cancer.