Celebrity cancer diagnoses encouraging people to get checked by doctors

Celebrity cancer diagnoses encouraging people to get checked by doctors

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - February is Cancer prevention month. While so many are talking about ways you can prevent it, several celebrities have announced they are battling a form of the disease.

In the past few days we’ve seen several stars like Rush Limbaugh and Shannen Doherty announce they are fighting a form of cancer. Doctors say this can help prevent others from getting the diagnosis too.

Doctors at Memorial Health say that when a celebrity is diagnosed with cancer it can have an impact on how their patients fight the disease here locally.

Doctor Elizabeth Mckeown is a colorectal surgeon. She says often people can feel embarrassed or be afraid to ask about colon cancer. She said that sometimes when patients hear about a celebrity like John Andretti having the same diagnosis it can help them.

But it goes beyond just one form of cancer. Just this week Rush Limbaugh announced he has advanced Lung Cancer and Shannen Doherty announced she has Stage 4 Breast Cancer. Stories like these can raise awareness, prompt questions from patients, and reduce the stigma.

While John Andretti passed away from Colon Cancer, doctors say patients ask about it.

“It absolutely comes up. I have a lot of patients that come to me with fairly nonspecific things like maybe they have some rectal bleeding and because of hearing about big names like Mr. Andretti they say, ‘well you know could this be something else?’ It really encourages them to talk to their primary care doctor to see someone they need to see,” said Dr. Mckeown.

Doctors also say watching these big names battle their diagnosis can provide a boost in morale for others just like them.

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