Farrah Fawcett, who has been battling anal cancer since 2006, made the bold decision to have her friend Alana Stewart pick up a camera and record her doctor’s visits and treatments. The resulting film, Farrah’s Story, is a documentary that has aired on NBC, Oxygen and Bravo. Steward and longtime love Ryan O’Neal have been by Farrah Fawcett’s side during her cancer treatment, giving her emotional and practical support.
While the documentary, Farrah’s Story, has its detractors, the TV film does put a personalized face on cancer, the devastating treatments and the emotional trauma that patients, families and friends endure.
Farrah stated that she wanted to help others with the documentary and felt that she owed the public honestly. As someone who went through cancer treatments years ago, I applaud the sentiment, even though I found the documentary hard to watch.
The documentary is instructive in some aspects of cancer treatment, but everybody’s cancer and treatment is different. Treatments that Farrah went through may not be at all appropriate for a person with another form of cancer.
What many people do not realize is that cancer is a form of disease with several diseases that come under the same umbrella heading. Breast cancer and colon cancer and other types of cancer are really different diseases. The treatments may be similar, but the protocols are different. Chemotherapy literally translates as chemical therapy. The chemical that works on one type of cancer may not work on another form of cancer.
It is important to understand that not all cancer treatments are created equal. While I am a supporter of alternative formed of medicine, when faced with a dire diagnoses it is important to get the facts from the most qualified medical professionals available. Certainly, get a second or third opinion if you want, but recommendations by friends or unqualified people may be well meaning but ineffective for your situation.
Farrah Fawcett is a golden icon of the 1970’s and it probably makes anyone who remembers the golden girl from her Charlie’s Angels days feel sad and old to see her suffering. Fawcett was born in Texas but moved to Los Angeles and became the ultimate California girl. Farrah’s mane of golden hair created a sensation and a flurry of women running to the hairdresser asking for “The Farrah hairstyle.”
The original Charlie’s Angels starred Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. Ironically, all three of the original “Angels’ have had some form of cancer. Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith were both interviewed for Farrah’s Story.
Fawcett was the first original Angel to leave Charlie’s Angels. She earned respect as a serious actress for her portrayal of an abused wife in Burning Bed.
Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal have had a relationship for about 30 years. They were together as a couple for 17 years and had a son, Redmond O’Neal. The couples split up but have remained friends. When Ryan O’Neal was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001, Farrah was by his side. Now, as Farrah Fawcett is undergoing cancer treatment, O’Neal has been by her side and said in a Today Show interview that he loves her more than ever.
Farrah’s Story premiered on NBC. There have been repeats on Bravo and Oxygen.
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