Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Farrah Fawcett

In a interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, actor Ryan O'Neal made some bold and odd claims. I don't know which is worse, the fact that he called his daughter's suicide attempt "fake" or that his daughter was basically the cause of Farrah Fawcett's cancer. Here's what the actor revealed to Morgan on Monday night's show:
"What bothers me the most is that there was turmoil during my love affair with Farrah. A lot of it caused by my family, by my kids. All of them. Particularly Tatum. That I just think that if she had never met us, would she still be alive today?
"Because nobody knows what causes cancer, do they really? And she didn't smoke. And she didn't drink. She exercised every day. And she believed in her good health. And then we came along. The four of us. And gradually she got weaker. I don't know. I think it's highly possible. I wasn't able to straighten out the mess that we were in and we sucked her in."
Hmmm. Well, here's the thing about cancer. Yes, we don't always know why someone develops cancer. Many stricken with cancer are at a loss and this if often hard to come to grips with, especially when someone is health conscious and leads a healthy lifestyle. However, with many types of cancer, we do know what may or may not cause cancer. In Farrah's case, she suffered from anal cancer, a disease that most often strikes after age 50. We know that HPV plays a role in anal cancer development, as does having many sex partners, engaging in anal sex, and also smoking. Given that we don't know Farrah's complete medical and social history, its really hard to speculate why she developed it in the first place. But, to insinuate that family stress, especially related to his daughter Tatum O'Neal, was a bit unfounded, in my opinion.
Farrah's death brought much needed awareness to a disease that doesn't have a designated awareness month or walks backed by large corporations. Think about it, when is the last time you saw an anal cancer awareness ribbon? She showed us that anal cancer is real, it doesn't just affect gay men (as some misinformed people believe), and that no one, even a celebrity, is immune to the wrath of cancer.
For Ryan O'Neal to public say such a crazy statement is beyond me. I have learned long ago that desperation for publicity makes people say and do the oddest things. And this just may be a prime example of a desperate ploy for public attention.