While officially a tribute to the late Janis Joplin, many saw the bald-headed Etheridge — in her first appearance since being diagnosed with breast cancer — as a symbol of empowerment, not only for female rock musicians, but also for the millions who have suffered from breast cancer.
"It was such a phenomenal statement: ‘I may have a disease, but I am here and I am not going away,’" said Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. "Even if you have breast cancer, you are still full of life."
Such a vibrant performance by a breast cancer patient might have been unimaginable a few decades ago, when frank, exhaustive public discussion of the disease was rare.
"I remember when you couldn’t even say breast, let alone breast cancer. Women did not say those words," said Visco, a survivor herself. "That has changed quite a bit."
The American Cancer Society estimates that 211,240 U.S. women (plus 1,690 men) will get invasive breast cancer this year, joining the more than 2 million women living with the disease.
My friend’s mom has just completed her first phase of treatment for her cancer and it is good to see that we have the medical technology to render this is a manageable disease. As with all cancers, it is much better to pick up any signs of cancer as soon as possible. Don’t ignore pains and growths!