Friends since 1988, Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge have endured their share of hardships—bad breakups, depression and for Etheridge, the anxiety around coming out sexually. But they fought their toughest battle when, within two years of each other, Crow and Etheridge each received a breast cancer diagnosis, shaking their worlds to the core. Through sheer determination and perseverance, they came out the other side. Now healthy and happy, the two survivors sat down with AARP The Magazine to discuss what they’ve learned and how they’ve each found a renewed sense of self.

How Sheryl Crow Beat Cancer:

  • No Blame: “You can’t say, ‘I did this, and that’s why I got cancer.’ You have to not beat yourself up.”
  • Get Tested: “I recommend regular mammograms, and if I knew I had the BRCA2 gene in my family, I’d want the test. You can make better decisions if you know.”
  • Self First: “Women have bodies designed to sustain life, but we don’t allow ourselves to be nurtured. Cancer taught me to put myself first.”
  • No Junk: “I try to eat local, organic and in season whenever I can.”
  • Have Fun: “I used to work out, but now, with my kids, we’re on the trampoline. We swim. We ride horses.”
  • Take Zen: “The body functions at a higher level cellularly when you’re relaxed. I now do mindless meditation.”


How Melissa Etheridge Beat Cancer:

  • Take Charge: “This was of my own doing, and I take responsibility. When I got my body back into balance, the cancer disappeared.”
  • To Test or Not: “I have the BRCA2 gene but I don’t encourage women to get tested. Genes can be turned on or off. I turned my gene on with my very poor diet.”
  • Diet Balance: “Our bodies are batteries. We need 70 percent alkaline and 30 percent acid to run optimally. Sugar is the worst, then red meat, dairy, wheat and gluten.”
  • Up and at ‘Em: “I take Pilates, yoga and kickboxing. I go for hikes or a walk. You just have to move every day.”
  • Cooling Your Jets: “Stress is a formula for cancer. If you’re running on the edge and your fuel tank is empty, you’re at risk. Your personal environment is your responsibility.”


Melissa Etheridge On sex after 50:
“The sex is better! Seriously, I’m healthier and in loving myself I attract a different kind of person now.”



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