Grammy Award-winning Singer-Songwriter and Breast Cancer Survivor Sheryl Crow Talks Women's Health and Jazz
It's National Women's Health Week. In the U.S., COVID-19 has resulted in a projected delay of more than 22 million screening tests for cancer and a 20% reduction in oncology visits between March and June 2020.
Now, Grammy Award-Winning Artist and Breast Cancer Survivor Sheryl Crow is encouraging all women to prioritize their critical health exams, schedule their annual mammograms and also spread the word to the women they love to do the same.
Crow and Philadelphia-based Dr. DaCarla Albright joined WBGO News Director Doug Doyle from Nashville, Tennessee for a video chat about the importance of early detention and preventative health screenings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of life for all of us - but women, especially, have taken even more onto their already full plates, adding roles like teacher and caregiver during the past several months. For many, that meant delaying preventive routine health screenings, including mammograms. While pushing off cancer screenings may have seemed like the best idea at the time, early detection and prevention remain vitally important for optimum health and well-being.
Sheryl Crow says she was surprised in 2006 when she scheduled her routine mammogram. She was in her 40's at the time.
"I was the picture of good health. I was extremely fit, ate really well, no family history and really wanted to put off that mammogram. It was not a great time. It was right around the GRAMMYs, but I went ahead anyway and checked that off my list and I got called back about an abnormality. They suggested I come back in six months. But rather than waiting the six months, I went ahead and had a Neo Biopsy and as it turned out I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Invasive Breast Cancer. As you might imagine, it was a huge game change for me. Even though I knew I that it wasn't a death sentence because it was detected so early, it still really dictated my live and some of habits that we as women get into, which is taking care of everyone before taking care of ourselves."
Crow says she's blessed to have a strong support network that includes teenagers to women in their late 50's and older. They talk about putting their own health first and being diligent about getting yearly mammograms.
Dr. DaCarla Albright says there a some differences right now when it comes to getting mammograms during the pandemic.
"The radiology centers are pacing appointments differently so people are appropriately distanced an spaced. All precautions are being taken. All CDC guidelines are being followed. So it is really safe to go back and have your screening done. With that being said, my biggest message is not to delay your mammogram any further. If you've been delayed during the pandemic, get it done. Pick up the phone. Call today. Take care of yourself because in a way that's taking care of your family."
Dr. Albright acknowledges the anxiety some women have regarding getting mammograms.
"No one wants to have a diagnosis of cancer, but I try to emphasize the fact that early detention does save lives. With early detention the prognosis is better. You are more likely to survive a breast cancer and you're less likely to have more devastating types of surgeries that can be disfiguring and can have a negative impact on a woman's sense of self. It's important to get that information as soon as possible and deal with it head-on and many places have various support network for women."
Being a celebrity like Sheryl Crow, was it even more difficult to deal with something so personal when it becomes so public?
"I'm really grateful we are at a point right now where we talk about these things. I mean everything is way too much out in the open. Like I have little boys I'm trying to protect what they see, but you know really up until Betty Ford no one would even speak about their breasts. We're in a place now that only can we talk about our breasts but we can encourage other women, and even the five percent of men, to go and ask questions and don't be embarrassed."
Crow says you can go to www.genius3dnearme.com to find a close place to schedule a mammogram appointment.
Both Crow and Dr. Albright, who was born and raised in New Orleans, are big jazz fans.
Crow, a nine-time Grammy winner, known for tunes like "All I Wanna Do", "A Change Would Do You Good", "Every Day is Winding Road", "In The End" and many others, says she's been greatly influenced by jazz.
"I was raised by two people that were and still are so into music and they were in a swing band when I was a kid. I grew up listening to what I feel is the greatest music ever. From Cole Porter, all the great Broadway shows, but also Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, and all the great arrangements, Tommy Dorsey, all the great crooners from Frank Sinatra to Tony Bennett to Nat King Cole."
Her exposure to the greats were done yet.
"I was raised listening to Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder and then James Taylor and the Beatles. I was just saturated with some of greatest music that ever was and I continue to carry that in my heart and physicality and hopefully influences as I write. And I am trying to through osmosis, inflict my children with my influences. Music is a physical and powerful art form. In many ways, it emboldens our physicality. I think jazz is one of the most beautiful American art forms the ever was and will ever be."
During the interview Doyle referenced Crow's rendition of "Begin the Beguine" in the 2004 movie De-Lovely about Cole Porter and her duet "The Girl I Love" with Tony Bennet from the Duets II album.
Dr. Albright says "jazz is a part of my soul."
You can see the Zoom chat at https://fb.watch/5sYFt0vHcU/.