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Spotlight: Ethan Zohn

Celebrities chronicling cancer seem all the rage. In May, NBC aired a documentary, Farrah's Story, which followed actress Farrah Fawcett's battle with anal cancer. And now 2002 Survivor: Africa winner, Ethan Zohn, is keeping a video dairy for People.com of his treatment for a rare form of Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Zohn, who was diagnosed last month, has already included video entries of him chopping off his famous curly locks and details of his weekly pill regime. He said that he hopes to inspire and help others through his updates.

While I admire the bravery of both Fawcett and Zohn, and their willingness to share a very personal matter, is this information that the public wants to know? Are we so infatuated with celebrities that we want to hear the good and the bad? Or has the personal life of a celebrity become obsolete in this era of 24-hour news coverage that even death is no longer off limits? Maybe Fawcett and Zohn decided to control the news of their disease rather than let the tabloid media do it for them.

What do you think?

By Lauren Wiseman  |  June 18, 2009; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  Lauren Wiseman  
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Comments

I think that you hit the nail on the head Lauren. More and more people are making their own statements about sensitive issues rather than letting others exploit them. And for those out there suffering from similar problems, aligning themselves with a celebrity might offer a sense of solace.

Posted by: ginaiovino | June 18, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I think it's useful. Despite the best efforts of cancer charities and the news media, there's a significant group of people out there who are convinced almost beyond dissuasion that cancer is a disease only "bad" people get. At best it's a form of denial, but at worst it's nothing but smug self-satisfaction. (The last is especially dangerous because if you think that every case of cancer is caused by someone doing something "bad", you won't be receptive to helping them.)

If people see that cancer can affect anyone regardless of "lifestyle" or fitness, maybe they'll be more careful of their own health and not assume that healthy living will automatically and without exception grant immortality.

Posted by: Blurgle | June 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

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