When Sheryl Crow recently announced that she has a benign brain tumor, or meningioma -- diagnosed on an MRI scan, which she was prompted to have after forgetting song lyrics at a concert -- the reaction was a genuine sigh of dismay. What the heck? It feels like it was just yesterday that she had breast cancer, right? Well, it was actually six years ago, but still ... It really begs the question if there's a link.
Apparently, while this kind of tumor occurs in about 1 in 1,000 people, it is more common in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. But the meningioma isn't due to breast cancer cells spreading to her brain.
Instead, experts say it may be triggered by the same reproductive hormones that also played a role in Crow's breast cancer. Surprise, surprise. Seems like there's quite a bit the medical community doesn't completely understand about our lady hormones, huh?
Still, the existing research behind the connection is pretty fascinating. Apparently, both meningiomas and the most common form of breast cancer are associated with an increase in estrogen and progesterone receptors on cells, and they're both most likely to affect women in their 50s and 60s.
Plus, get this: Other studies have shown that women with the same brain tumor Crow has are 40 percent more likely to have breast cancer than those without and are 50 percent more likely to have endometriosis, the condition where the uterine lining grows outside the uterus causing pelvic pain. (Jillian Michaels has been vocal about suffering from this and has noted that it worsened due to hormone imbalance.)
So, as it turns out, it seems these conditions and diseases seem to have a lot more in common than we might realize initially. Thankfully, there is a perk to that fact. There was a case study in March on a woman with breast cancer whose meningioma regressed after she was treated with chemotherapy for the breast cancer. Meaning docs might be able to use breast cancer chemo to address these tough-to-reach tumors that don't usually respond to the same chemo agents used for brain cancer. Sounds promising.
But as far as Crow is concerned, the even better news is that her docs say surgery isn't necessary, a "wait and see" approach is sufficient right now, and Crow herself says she's "OK." Fingers crossed that remains the case.
Are you surprised by the link between her brain tumor and breast cancer? Have you heard of this before?
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