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Rosie O'Donnell 'All Clear' From Breast Cancer

By November 17, 2010

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Rosie O'Donnell
Rosie O'Donnell
Photo © Getty Images/PeterKramer

It's always great to get a negative result - if you're talking about a breast biopsy.† Rosie O'Donnell got to write "CANCER FREE" in her blog yesterday afternoon, upon finding out that her breast lumps turned out to be benign.† The comedienne and former View moderator was ten when she lost her 39-year old mother to breast cancer. So it's very understandable that O'Donnell, now 48, was worried about the results of her breast biopsies.† The openly lesbian Emmy winner was just 30 when she first had a breast lump removed.

O'Donnell is an outspoken celebrity that has lampooned Donald Trump, Danny DiVito, and former president George Bush.† Aware that many people want to see what she will say, and relating to other women anticipating biopsy results, she blogged, "And I see the faces of the women in the waiting room... praying they too got good news today."

What else could Rosie O'Donnell do, to lower her risk of breast cancer?† Her risks are:† family history of breast cancer, extra weight, approaching menopause, lack of regular exercise, and perhaps diet.† Some risks you are born with - if your mother had breast cancer, there's nothing you can do to change that.† But she could get a personal trainer, work out on a regular schedule, clean up her diet† and nutrition plan, and drop some pounds.† Make that lots of pounds, because as we age, our extra body fat stores estrogen - the hormone that fuels 80% of all breast cancer tumors.

O'Donnell has her own radio show now - so she could be wearing a muumuu to work if she wants to.† Her appearance is not the issue, and not the reason she might like to make some healthy life changes.† If she wants to live out a good example of her life before her kids, she could heed the medical warnings her body has given her.† She co-wrote a book on breast cancer, "Bosom Buddies: Lessons and Laughter on Breast Health and Cancer"- but she didn't write the medical content.† Instead, she jokingly supplied replies to serious questions which required serious answers.

I know what I would say to Rosie O'Donnell right now, if I could.† She has an opportunity here to become a leader, a spokesperson, an educator, and a myth-buster.† She could be setting a world-wide example of how to have fun while becoming healthier.† What a great legacy to leave to her kids!† What advice would you give Rosie?

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November 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm
(1) Yanick Bertrand says:

That a great news for Rosie and I wish the future will be free of breast cancer for her since cancer don’t give up easily. I hope some day we will give better tools to identify this terrible weakness in our body. I do believe good nutrition can help such eating functional food and doing daily exercise but early detection and good follow-up whit Doctors as Rosie did is the best thing.

November 18, 2010 at 10:20 am
(2) bsomers says:

I come from a family of cancer survivors. It is a scary thing to go through and we all have a path to take with courage and humor. I find the tone of Ms. Stephan’s column to be snotty and condescending. What is she, a right-wing Republican who wants to take some shots at the liberal O’Donnell? The columnist may have meant well but the tone is wrong. IF she has guts let her call her show and discuss it on the air. And take some classes in writing.

November 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm
(3) breastcancer says:

@bsomers: I myself am an 8-year breast cancer survivor. My political position is not an issue here. My advice for Ms. O’Donnell is the same that I would give to any women who is overweight, has a family history of breast cancer, is raising children, and has had two breast cancer scares already. I’m glad she went for an MRI, and I’m glad she went ahead with biopsies – which are always scary. I think your idea of calling in to Rosie’s show is a good one. And – we all can use some classes in writing, can’t we?

November 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm
(4) Dani says:

Your article is slightly inaccurate. Ms O’Donnell was 10 years old when she lost her mother.

November 18, 2010 at 12:25 pm
(5) breastcancer says:

@Dani – Thanks for your info, I just updated the blog post with that!

November 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm
(6) John from Florida says:

Pam have you ever been overweight? Iím not talking 10 pounds over mind you; Iím talking 40, 50 or 60. I have and to “drop some pounds” is easier said than done. I have lost 65 pds (so far) with 20 more to go. As you may not be aware of to lose 40, 50 or 60 pounds while being over 40 years old is not an easy thing to do.

I appreciate your candor and would never challenge your expertise being a cancer survivor but positive encouragement is required and please keep in mind the demons that Rosie, I and other overweight people live with for the rest of our lives. I truly believe you would understand that.

God Bless..

November 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm
(7) Lisa Gerber says:

I am going to try to say this in a courteous manner. You do not know Ms. O’donnell personally from what I read here.

It is none of your business what weight Ms. O’donnell is or how she lives her life. What is important is that she has taken care of herself by getting the needed breast screenings.

It is a sigh of relief time for Ms. O’donnell. Please be a little more compassionate next time you write a blog. This is not about being overweight…it is about breast cancer awareness and regular screenings…which is what Ms. O’donnell was talking about.

November 19, 2010 at 10:23 am
(8) breastcancer says:

@Lisa Gerber: I didn’t know that Ms. O’Donnell’s personal friends and acquaintances read this blog, but am glad for the connection.

You are quite correct in saying that her weight and her diet and her exercise regime are not my personal business. So we can agree there! She generously shared her struggle and her emotions with her fans and the media, and showed that she knows how to properly respond to finding a breast lump. There, we agree again! My issue is – now that she knows she may be at an elevated risk for developing breast cancer, why not take action to lower her risk? Weight, diet, and exercise are 3 things she can control. Rosie is well known for being forthright and philanthropic. But consider that she said in 2002 during an interview with Paula Zahn:

“We tried to make a women’s magazine that was intelligent, that spoke to women about real issues, that knew that breast cancer was more important than your waist size.

If she meant that – then it seems that she may be willing to lend her personal example to millions of women who want to reduce their own risk of breast cancer. She could do that, if she chose, by taking her own words seriously.

November 18, 2010 at 11:07 pm
(9) Lina8 says:

I am sure you are the perfect mother who never struggles with anything.

Rosie has always wanted the best for her kids and all kids. She is a great example of a human being. Her children are all adopted and are very lucky to have her as a mother. And I am not talking about her money or fame. She is a devoted mother who puts her kids first. In fact she puts all kids first.

Her kids already have a great legacy!

November 19, 2010 at 10:09 am
(10) breastcancer says:

@Lina8: It seems to me that all mothers have things they struggle with. Mothers have quite a bit of responsibility and that includes setting a good example for their kids. My issue – what I was trying to highlight here was Lowering Risk of Breast Cancer. Rosie did the right thing in getting her lumps checked out and having biopsies done. Why not go further and make some lifestyle changes that would make her whole family healthier? So they can all stay together longer? I have no children, which has been quite a struggle – but thanks for your opinion.

November 19, 2010 at 1:56 pm
(11) Parri says:

Pam, just a note to let you know that some of us ‘get’ what you were trying to say. There’s nothing wrong with the tone of your blog. Truth is truth. As hard as it is for Rosie O’D. to lose weight (which she readily admitted on her radio show), she can’t ignore the facts, and there are improvements to her life that she could put into place IF SHE SO DESIRES.

She’s the only one who can make that change. We could all benefit from her doing so, given her presence in the media.

As a postscript, it’s interesting to see how many enablers/fans she has who have commented here

November 19, 2010 at 6:09 pm
(12) Vince says:

I agree with what you said, but my problem was that you chose to identify Rosie as “openly lesbian”. Why is that necessary? What does her sexual orientation have to do with her breast biopsy? If Julie Chen or Angelina Jolie or Sarah Palin got a breast biopsy, would you identify them as “openly straight”? No, you wouldn’t.

November 20, 2010 at 12:35 am
(13) Cathy says:

None of your business to publicly discuss anyone’s weight. Period.

November 29, 2010 at 12:42 am
(14) Jane says:


I am so glad to hear you do not have breast cancer and confirmed with Bx. It is especailly wonderful since the odds were against you with the family history you have. So sorry to hear that your mother died of breast cancer at a very young age. Life just is not fair but it could be worse I.

Continue to take care of yourself so you can see those children grow up to be adults.



December 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm
(15) JD says:

Rosie is an advocate of human rights and discrimination, in the LGBT area and also in being an advocate for people with weight issues. Thank you Rosie and friends for sticking up for those who get so often judged as if they could magically just lose weight. There needs to be a change in food production and processing before we can say that exercising is what’s causing this obesity epidemic. Some obese people don’t have lifestlye choices, they can only afford “crap food,” (as Rosie calls it). Cancer could be hereditary, it could be environmental, it’s many different factors. Can you educate people more on the fact that the chemicals in foods, lotions, water-bottles, the majority of consumer products are a huge factor in breast cancer and any cancer in general? The problem with the internet and blogs is that you can’t really tell of a tone of the author, as it’s usually applied by the reader. But in the comments, author, you say you don’t have children. I’m sure you know that woman who choose a lifestyle (or don’t have the choice) to not have children may increase their risk of breast cancer? Is that a fault just as you claim her lifestyle choice of being overwieght increases her chances?

December 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm
(16) D'Ann J. says:

Our body stores toxins in fat cells in an attempt to protect us from the toxins circulating to vital organs. As one is exposed to more toxins, more fat cells are needed as a storage place. As a result we develop ďtoxic obesityĒ. A lot of cases of obesity are due to toxicity.
When those people start losing weight, the toxins are released in the bloodstream causing uncomfortable, sometimes fatal symptoms like headaches, rashes, congestion, diarrhea, allergies, mood swings, insomnia, a variety of cancers, etc…

November 16, 2013 at 9:10 pm
(17) Naija says:

Cancer apparently thrives in an acid atmosphere and so it is best to avoid too a lot meat. Some animals are fed growth hormones and antibiotics, and might also have parasites, that are harmful and especially to people already struggling with cancer. Meat protein can also be harder to digest and also the undigested meat remaining in the intestines becomes putrefied, leading to more toxic build-up. Fish and a little chicken are believed to become the very best recommendation.

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