You Got It All Wrong, Melissa Etheridge

November 11, 2014 11:04 PM

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Shame on Melissa Etheridge for using her privilege and public platform to blame herself for her breast cancer and, by extension, blame all lesbian and bisexual women for our disproportionate burden of the disease. Cancer is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of rogue cells. Period. Of course, there are some things, like genetics and tobacco use, that increase the likelihood of occurrence. But Etheridge didn't cause her own breast cancer, and she didn't make it disappear once she "got [her] body back into balance." She had a genetic mutation that made her more susceptible, she used to be a chain smoker, and, considering that not everyone in those categories gets cancer, she was also unlucky. Then she had surgery (a lumpectomy) and five rounds of chemotherapy and radiation to get rid of her cancer. She was not cured by simply fixing her diet any more than she caused her cancer by eating poorly.

In a recent article in AARP: The Magazine, Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow also used their soapbox to call cancer a "gift." Really? As the founder and executive director of the National LGBT Cancer Network, I tend to think of the disease as terrifying, time-consuming, disfiguring, expensive and is...

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