Breast Cancer and PR: Why Celebrity Drug Addictions Get More Press Than Disease

breast cancer celebrity

There are a number of celebrities who have suffered from breast cancer and lived to tell the tale. You’ve probably heard about a few of them, but the media seems to be more focused on who went on a drinking binge this last weekend or who is in rehab for drug addiction, rather than focusing on diseases that many of us may face someday.

Is being sick bad PR? What makes a coke addiction better news than a young actress suffering from breast cancer?

First, a look at the celebrities that have overcome this disease.

Christina Applegate: One of the more famous faces of breast cancer, Applegate was diagnosed at the age of 36 and had a double masectomy, much to the world’s surprise. She is now an advocate for Right Action for Women, an organization that pays for MRI scans for high risk women who might not otherwise be able to have the tests done.

Sheryl Crow: The popular singer discovered she had breast cancer at the age of 44 and had surgery to remove it. She recovered well and is now working with Stand Up To Cancer, an organization that raises monies for breast cancer research.

robin-roberts baldRobin Roberts: Best known for her position as co-host on the ABC Good Morning America show, Roberts learned she had breast cancer at the age of 46. She announced her diagnosis on the show and proceeded to keep viewers up to date with her experiences. She promotes doing self-exams, since this is how she discovered a lump in her breast.

Dorothy Hamill:
The famous figure skater is back on the ice after being diagnosed two years ago at the age of 51. She now does public service ads with the Cancer Project, encouraging women to eat healthily to protect their bodies.

Cynthia Nixon: This actress was just 42 when diagnosed with breast cancer. Her treatment required a lumpectomy and radiation and she is now in remission. Nixon promotes Susan G. Komen for the
Cure.

Edie Falco: Diagnosed 6 years ago, the Nurse Jackie star now collaborates with others to promote Stand Up to Cancer. She took a practical approach to her cancer, suggesting that it was better she, with all her resources, have it than a single mother of 3.

kylieKylie Minogue: Another celebrity who was diagnosed earlier than the norm, Minogue found out she had breast cancer at the age of just 36. Originally misdiagnosed, she was eventually treated for the cancer and is doing well today. She helps raise money for breast cancer research by auctioning off her bras.

Maura Tierny:
Diagnosed this year, Tierny, a former ER actress, had to stand down from her role in Parenthood, a new television series. The actress is still recovering from treatment, but is said to be doing well. She’s just 44.

While all of these celebrities had their moment in the spotlight when first diagnosed, they were quickly relegated to yesterday’s news, as are many famous people who end up suffering from diseases. Despite the fact that these women are all active in some way in breast cancer awareness, you don’t hear much about them.

So, just what is it that make breast cancer something for the media to hide? Is it possible that there just might be something that even the gossip glossies don’t dare exploit. While sexual indiscretions, drug overdoses and terrible outfits make the news, something far more important is left in the dust.

Perhaps the media ignores these celebrities as they struggle with breast cancer because it hits too close to home. Breast cancer is something that 1 in 5 women will have to deal with and that is just a little too scary for us. Since celebrity PR is supposed to be entertaining, serious diseases like breast cancer receive little mention, though it could be infinitely more helpful to keep up the awareness of this deadly disease.

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Comments

  1. P. Akin says

    There are multiple reasons why people care more about celebrity drug addictions over their painful and serious diseases.
    1.People love to criticize celebrities:
    Celebrities are supposed to be glamorous and perfect and when people find an imperfection it’s exciting. It makes you feel better about working your ass off for $50,000 a year… at least you don’t have a drug problem.
    2.Disease is too serious:
    Breast cancer, like most diseases, unexpectedly hits you over the head with no warning and no fault of your own. It’s sad and people don’t want to be brought down.

    • says

      It’s very true that breast cancer is sad and people just don’t want to deal with that while reading the latest gossip. I think we also see celebs as an escape from our reality, so we don’t like it when the two worlds clash.

  2. Paul Jones says

    Terrific piece. Thanks for posting it.

    To address your question; I’ve long thought of drug addiction stories that come out of the celebrity media as morality tales. ie ‘Look what happens when you get too rich and famous… you can lead a life of self-destructive dissipation.’

    Such people ‘choose’ to be victims of their addictions in part because they choose to lead a life of celebrity.

    By contrast, breast cancer chooses its own victims regardless of fame or fortune. And, as you say, cancer chooses 1 out 5 women without regard to celebrity.

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