Details About Cancer & Acceptance
- David Bowie passed away in 2016 at the age of 69. The English singer-songwriter was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2014 and fought the disease for 18 months.
- Liver disease is often associated with alcoholism. Bowie was open about his own alcohol abuse, but there is no way to prove for sure that it led to cancer. When it comes to alcohol’s influence on cancer risk, the data is mixed, but as usual, experts agree that moderation is key.
- Actor Gary Oldman has just opened up about looking forward to retirement and acceptance after alcoholism recovery.
- Every day of our lives is really filled with uncertainty but those facing a cancer diagnosis tend to feel that uncertainty at a more extreme level. Mental Health professionals say that learning to embrace that uncertainty is a part of living … not just for those fighting cancer, but for everyone.
Following Bowie’s death in 2016, the famed singer was posthumously honored at the BRIT Awards and his close friend Oldman spoke of his friend’s humor, noting that when the Space Oddity singer told him of his cancer diagnosis, he noted, “The good news is I’ve got my cheekbones back.”Read More
Now, years later, Oldman has opened up about his acting career nearing its end—following his work with the thriller series Slow Horses.
“I’ve had an enviable career, but careers wain, and I do have other things that interest me outside of acting,” the Oldman told The Sunday Times. “When you’re young you think you’re going to get round to doing all of them — read that book — then the years go by.”
Oldman added, “I’m 65 next year, 70 is around the corner. I don’t want to be active when I’m 80. I’d be very happy and honored and privileged to go out as Jackson Lamb — and then hang it up.”
The actor, who has recovered from alcoholism and credited Demi Moore for pushing him to get help, added that he hasn’t been secretive about his battle with alcohol and has been sober for 25 years.
David Bowie’s Cancer Battle
Bowie passed away in 2016 at the age of 69. The English singer-songwriter—who wrote over 400 songs throughout his career—was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2014 and fought the disease for 18 months.
Known as a bit of a recluse—mainly due to his nearly God-like level of fame—the superstar kept his diagnosis relatively quiet and out of the public eye, but his dedication to his music never wavered.
By the time of his death, Bowie’s liver cancer had reportedly spread throughout his body.
The influential talent is survived by his widow, fashion model Iman, age 67, who was the love of his life. The couple had one daughter together, Alexandria Zahra Jones. Bowie had one other child from his previous marriage to Angela Bowie—British film director and producer Duncan Jones.
Symptoms of this disease may include abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, decrease or loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, and jaundice.
Liver cancer affects approximately 42,000 Americans per year, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Causes of this disease may include excessive alcohol consumption or a family history of liver cancer.
Alcohol and Liver Cancer Risk
Liver disease is often associated with alcoholism. David Bowie was quite open about his own drug and alcohol abuse.
“It took me a long time to reach the bottom and it went through various stages. I went from drugs into an alcohol stage,” he admitted in a 1993 interview with the LA Times. “For a while, one feels, ‘Ah, I’ve kicked drugs,’ but what I discovered was I had another addiction instead.”
There is no way to prove for sure that alcoholism led to Bowie’s liver cancer. When it comes to alcohol’s influence on cancer risk, the data is mixed. Colorectal surgeon Dr. Heather Yeo from Weill Cornell Medicine told SurvivorNet that she does believe high levels of alcohol can predispose people to certain types of cancer–including pancreatic, liver, and colon.
Dr. Yeo expressed that the key with alcohol is moderation. Her view is “for women, anything over a half a glass or a glass a day is probably not helping your overall health.” For men, “they can probably go one to two glasses before they start seeing health effects.”
Acceptance Is Key
“Every day of our lives is really filled with uncertainty” – but those facing a cancer diagnosis tend to feel that uncertainty at a more extreme level. Dr. William Breitbart, the chair of the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, says that learning to embrace that uncertainty is a part of living … not just for those fighting cancer, but for everyone.
“What the task becomes is having the courage to live in the face of uncertainty, realizing that you cannot necessarily control the uncertainty in life … the suffering that occurs, challenges both good and bad,” Dr. Breitbart says. “You may not be able to control those but you have control over how you choose to respond.”
The Importance of Positive Self Talk
When it comes to cancer, SurvivorNet not only believes in the importance of speaking about one’s physical health, but also one’s mental health.
Dr. Marianna Strongin, a licensed clinical psychologist, previously told SurvivorNet, “Studies have found that positive self-talk significantly reduces anxiety, improves resilience and confidence and allows us to be connected with others. As you courageously make your way through this chemotherapy it is critical that your self talk is supportive, patient and overall kind.”
“There will be moments of intense pain, discomfort and even setbacks. Your body may be saying ‘no more’ but your mind has the power to kindly say, ‘you got this, one foot in front of the other, this pain is temporarym.'”
Dr. Strongin firmly suggests creating a dialogue from within that brings your mind and body together at difficult times.
“Guiding your body through pain with your mind will make you feel more in control, focused on the present and give you a greater understanding and appreciation for your strength,” she explained.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff