Support During a Cancer Journey
- The original “Charlie’s Angels” were comprised of Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith. All three of them went on to battle cancer and supported each other along the way.
- Sadly, Fawcett died of anal cancer at age 62. But her friends have continued to keep her memory alive.
- Smith shared a throwback photo of the crime-fighting trio with the caption celebrating “the power of girlfriends.”
- One of our experts says “studies have found consistently that loneliness is a significant risk factor for physical and mental illnesses and the trajectory of recovery.”
- So, she says it’s important for cancer warriors to surround themselves with individuals who care for and support them throughout treatment.
The television show “Charlie’s Angels” has been a staple of pop culture since it debuted in 1976 and revered for its portrayal of strong women (though it was also criticized for its sexualization of the female leads).Read More
“The power of girlfriends 🤍,” she wrote under a beautiful snap of the women walking along a beach. “Do you recognize this episode?”View this post on Instagram
The Original ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Take on Cancer“The power of girlfriends” might just seem like a fun reference to the three women’s supportive nature on the show, but Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith had a bond that went much deeper than on-screen chemistry. And their genuine friendship was put to the test when each of the girls had a battle with cancer.
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After a lumpectomy – a surgery where part of the breast is removed – and radiation, she was on the path to recovery. Sadly, however, her breast cancer came back just two years later.
“The range of emotions you go through is amazing,” she said. “But I really made a conscious decision to be positive. When I had a negative thought, I pushed it away.”
Thankfully, she had friends to support her along the way, and she beat the disease with further treatment.
“Kate had breast cancer — I was there for her,” Smith previously told SurvivorNet.
RELATED: ‘Charlie’s Angels’ Jaclyn Smith on Having Her Cancer Diagnosis Leaked to the Media — Plus, How the Angels Cast Leaned on Each Other During Cancer Battles
Next to face a cancer battle was Smith. She received her stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis in 2003.
“I think when you hear [you have cancer], you realize how precious life is,” Smith previously told SurvivorNet. “And hey, I’m not just gonna sit back and do nothing. Let me enjoy this moment.”
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Thankfully, her lumpectomy and radiation was enough to help her overcome the disease. But she did say it was the support from girlfriends that gave her the extra support she needed.
“I talk about the power of girlfriends,” Smith said. “The family was so emotionally tied to [the cancer journey]. I saw them worry. Whereas the girlfriends would say, ‘OK, we’re going to lunch. Should we go to Johnny Rockets today?’
“They were just always cheery and they were always up, and they wouldn’t let me get down… And if I heard anything, they diffused the story. It’s nice to have family, but it’s nice to get that support from friends, too.”
Fawcett was the third to battle cancer. She was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006 and declared cancer-free the following year. Then, her cancer returned a few months later with a metastasis (spreading) to her liver.
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“I’ve watched her this past year fight with such courage and so valiantly, but with such humor,” Jackson said in 2007. “It hasn’t been a black year at all. There’s been a whole lot of love. It’s been stunning to see her grab this by the horns and amazing to see her determination to beat it.”
Fawcett died of anal cancer at the age of 62 in 2009. But both Jackson and Smith were there for her until the very end.
“With Farrah, I was very close to her, especially at the end,” Smith told SurvivorNet. “Her journey with cancer was horrific. She opened up another world about cancer with her documentary.”
Fawcett’s willingness to open up about the disease continues to raise crucial awareness and educate people about anal cancer and other HPV-related diseases.
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“Farrah was relentless in her fight,” Smith said of Fawcett’s decision to go public with her cancer battle and launch The Farrah Fawcett Foundation – an organization that supports cutting-edge HPV-related cancer research. “Who would have dreamed that this girl who was known for the smile and the hair and the glamour would open up the depths of her soul to share with the world?”
Support From Friends During a Cancer Journey
Feeling support from friends during a cancer journey can make a world of difference. But don’t take our word for it, trust the experts.
“Studies have found consistently that loneliness is a significant risk factor for physical and mental illnesses and the trajectory of recovery,” licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin wrote in a column for SurvivorNet. “Therefore, it will be important that you surround yourself with individuals who care and support you throughout your treatment.”
How to Talk to a Friend With Cancer: Don’t Say Stupid Stuff
But, on the other end of the spectrum, it can be difficult to know how to support a friend after they’ve received their cancer diagnosis.
“People often don’t know how to handle a friend who has had a diagnosis,” breast cancer survivor Catherine Gigante-Brown previously told SurvivorNet. “My advice to them is basically just be yourself.
“The person has not changed just because they have cancer. It’s important to be there for them and not ignore them just because you might not know what to say.”
Gigante-Brown suggests asking what you can do for the person. Even simple things like bringing them a meal or doing their laundry could make a big difference. And as far as topics of conversation go, her advice is simple: “Don’t say stupid things.”
“Don’t burden us with stories about your Great Aunt Harriet who had breast cancer,” she said. “And then you say, ‘Oh how’s she doing?’ And then they’ll say, ‘Oh, she died.’ We don’t need to hear the horror stories.”
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