Etheridge Gains Star on Walk of Fame

CURE, Winter 2011, Volume 10, Issue 4

Melissa Ethridge and other celebrities bring attention to cancer patients and survivors.

Grammy-winning recording artist Melissa Etheridge was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Perhaps best known for bluesy rock hits, such as “Come to My Window,” Etheridge is also a breast cancer survivor. At the unveiling ceremony, she said she hopes her life is an inspiration to anyone with a dream.

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of rock band The Who have pledged to raise money for a program for young adults with cancer. The Daltrey/Townshend Teen and Young Adult Cancer Program will feature a special unit at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with a common lounge area so teens can interact and lend emotional support.

Former Survivor winner Ethan Zohn was diagnosed with a recurrence of Hodgkin lymphoma in September. But Zohn didn’t let the news slow him down; he completed his second New York City Marathon in November.

Steve Jobs, who died in October after stepping down from his duties as CEO of Apple in August, revealed to biographer Walter Isaacson that he put off conventional treatment of his pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor for nine months while he explored alternative therapies, a decision he later regretted.

Evelyn Lauder, of cosmetics company Estée Lauder, died Nov. 12 from non-BRCA-related ovarian cancer. After receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in 1989, she started the Pink Ribbon campaign and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which has raised more than $350 million.

Comedienne Wanda Sykes announced in September on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she had had a bilateral mastectomy after receiving a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ diagnosis.

Larry Hagman, known as J.R. Ewing to fans of the ’80s TV show Dallas, announced that he would be receiving treatment for cancer. Hagman has not revealed what type of cancer he has and only has said it is a common and treatable form.

E! host and reality star Giuliana Rancic publicly disclosed her early-stage breast cancer diagnosis on the Today show. Rancic’s breast cancer was discovered through a screening mammogram suggested by her physician while she was receiving in vitro fertilization treatment.

Singer Andy Williams, perhaps best known for crooning “Moon River,” was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Williams made the announcement to his fans while performing his annual Christmas show at the Moon River Theatre in Branson, Mo.

According to published reports, Robin Gibb, a singer from the disco-era group the Bee Gees, has been diagnosed with liver cancer.

Kara Kennedy, daughter of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, died at a health club in the Washington, D.C. area at age 51. The cause of death was a heart attack. Kennedy had received treatment for lung cancer, which her brother said took a toll on her body.

Eleanor Mondale, an entertainment reporter and the daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale, died at her home after a recurrence of brain cancer in September.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Joe “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier died from liver cancer at his Philadelphia home in early November. He had been diagnosed in late September. Frazier won the heavyweight title from Muhammad Ali in March of ’71 and had a longstanding rivalry with Ali.

Journalist and polemicist Christopher Hitchens, 62, died in December from complications related to esophageal cancer at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He was diagnosed in spring of 2010 while on a publicity tour for his memoir. Hitchens had been a contributing editor for Vanity Fair since 1992 and wrote for a variety of other publications over the years, often commenting on religion, politics and his own illness.

Former Miss Venezuela Eva Ekvall died from breast cancer at age 28. The beauty queen was crowned at age 17 in 2000 and went on to model, act and work as a TV news anchor. Her grandmother had also died of the disease at age 39. In order to send out a message about the need for cancer prevention, she published a book, Fuera de Foco (Out of Focus), that documented her cancer experience and featured photos of her undergoing chemotherapy.