How To Save A Life: To Cancer And Back

How To Save A Life: To Cancer And Back

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Fran Drescher was honored as an Ashoka ChangemakeHER, Changemakers's inaugural celebration of the world's most influentual and inspiring women. Find her fellow honorees' voices here.

by Fran Drescher, President and Visionary of Cancer Schmancer

“Women are like teabags. We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water!”
                       
                           — Eleanor Roosevelt

And honey, let me tell ya, I’ve been in some scorching H20!

You may know me as the nasally, big hair gal from Queens … and you’re right! But what you may not know is that I’m a ten-year cancer survivor. It took me two years and eight doctors before I was properly diagnosed with uterine cancer. Let me tell ya, I was in the stirrups more times than good ol’ Roy Rogers!

All throughout my journey, my doctors had a plethora of reasons why I was experiencing symptoms (classic uterine cancer symptom, I must add!): I was “too thin,” “eating too much spinach,” “had restless leg syndrome” -- you name it.

I was given hormone replacement therapy for a peri-menopausal condition I did not have, and I also didn’t receive the right diagnostic tests because my doctors neglected the obvious signs. At the time, I was just happy to be told I was “too young” for anything, so I didn’t even think to ask questions! Doctor number 8 issued an endometrial biopsy that confirmed my worst fear: I had uterine cancer.

Well, I learned to turn lemons into lemonade, and here I am today, focusing on improving women’s cancer healthcare. In 2007, I founded Cancer Schmancer, a women’s health organization dedicated to saving women’s lives through prevention and early detection of cancer.

This June 2011, I’ll be celebrating my eleventh year of wellness, and it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in the last decade regarding cancer. But we’re not where we should be yet.

We all need to play an active role in our own health care, especially women who continue to be the caregiver in almost every home. Many times women ignore the warning whispers of disease, and/or do not commit to a healthy lifestyle because they are constantly on the go, taking care of everyone else. But news flash; we are no good to our families if we are six feet under!

Every single one of us needs to transform from passive patients into informed medical consumers. And, as medical consumers, we must learn to live preventatively, ask questions, know the tests that are available, and talk to our physicians.

We have the power to save lives TODAY thorough prevention and early detection. So I’m putting you in hot water, baby!  Show your strength.  Show your courage.  Join me and my organization, Cancer Schmancer, and thousands of empowered individuals who are making the change to live long and healthy lives for themselves and their families.

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Fran is a leading women's health advocate, author, actress and director using her celebrity to raise awareness of healthy living and women's empowerment. Fran is passionate about championing cancer prevention and early detection. She is also the Special Envoy for Women's Health Issues for the US State Department.