How Sheryl Crow Coped With Her Breast Cancer Diagnosis

“You can’t take care of everyone’s emotions”

Katie Couric
Oct 8 · 4 min read
Sheryl Crow wants more women to get mammograms. Photo: Getty Images

SSheryl Crow is an iconic rock star, incredible friend (I know this from personal experience!), amazing mother — and a breast cancer survivor. The “Threads” musician was diagnosed 13 years ago, after dragging herself to a mammogram appointment she dreaded… and even considered skipping. Now, Sheryl considers herself to be a “poster child for early detection,” and is speaking out in the hopes of encouraging other women to #MamUp.

Here are the lessons that Sheryl learned from her experience with the disease, her best advice for people newly-diagnosed, and why she thinks every month (not just October) should be Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Katie Couric: Sheryl, you’ve been so open about your experience with breast cancer. Before your diagnosis 13 years ago, how would you describe your health? How did you first discover that something might be amiss?

You’ve spoken out about the importance of mammograms. What would you say to a woman who hasn’t had one yet, or who doesn’t undergo this scan regularly?

We are all busy but the hour it takes to get a breast exam could mean the difference in a less intense treatment, like I had, or in needing chemo… or even worse, being given a more dire prognosis.

What are some of the biggest things you learned about yourself through your experience with breast cancer?

Gilda Radner famously said, “Having cancer gave me membership in an elite club I’d rather not belong to.” Did you also find yourself connecting with other patients and survivors?

What advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed with the disease?

When you are diagnosed, everyone around you experiences the diagnosis, as well… friends, family, employees. It brings mortality front and center. It also creates a lot of fear for everyone: “Am I next? Could it happen to me?”

One thing I recommend is that you cannot make everyone comfortable with your diagnosis. You can’t take care of everyone’s emotions. While people will want to be there with meals and visits and doing lots for you, it will be your challenge to ask for the space you need — and to ask when you need help with the mundane things in life. It will prove to be an opportunity for everyone to learn and grow and to understand how to be there for you in authentic ways.

And lastly, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. What message do you hope to share with people about breast cancer, and what does this month mean to you?

No excuses ladies… “Time to ‘mam up!!” #mamup

This originally appeared in Katie Couric’s October 8, 2019 Wake-Up Call newsletter. Subscribe here.

Wake-Up Call

Katie Couric and friends talk career, culture, politics, wellness, love, and money

Katie Couric

Written by

Founder, Katie Couric Media. Newscaster: Wake-Up Call. Podcaster: Next Question. Doc filmmaker. @SU2C founder.

Wake-Up Call

Katie Couric and friends talk career, culture, politics, wellness, love, and money

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