Known to many teens of the nineties and Millenials as the effervescent caretaker with the beloved yet absurdly satirical Long Island drawl, the nanny, has seriously pushed the envelope in a lot of ways you may have missed in the last decade. Fran Drescher has become a significant force in the realm of advocacy for women’s health. With considerable charisma and personal touch, Drescher’s organization Cancer Schmancer has taken a compelling role drawing attention to breast cancer prevention and detection. Her organization instructs women on how to take environmental precautions to prevent contact with carcinogenic materials by detoxing your home and limiting cancerous factors in life. Cancer Schmancer offers a wealth of tips on ways to maintain body and mind in a state of relative health. There is also an interesting youth campaign called WE THE FUTURE that opens a space for youth to begin a registered advocacy club around raising cancer awareness.
This October, Cancer Schmancer will be running a Women’s Health Summit that incorporates all kinds of holistic and mindful learning practices as a way to encourage women to take control of their bodies and transform from passive patients into active medical consumers. From the looks of the programming, it’ll be a perfect day to reflect with a panel of experts on integrative medicine, to network with all of the various organizers and innovators attached with Drescher’s vision, and to laugh with “empowerment” through comedy with Rosie O’Donnell!
We had the pleasure of interviewing Fran before her upcoming event and to see if we could figure out the origins of her Fierce Woman Factor!
Fran Drescher you are truly a mensch! You’ve been a survivor of cancer for almost two decades if my calculations are correct, and out of your experience you’ve created an amazing foundation for empowerment through your Cancer Schmancer book and organization- What was the spark that made you decide to share your experience as a cancer survivor as opposed to managing it privately?
“For those who don’t know the story… 15 years ago, I had a series of unusual symptoms, and I knew something was wrong, but no one could tell me what it was. So after two years and eight doctors, I was finally given a very simple test and found out that I had uterine cancer. Fortunately, it was slow-growing and still in Stage 1. I had a radical hysterectomy, and have been cancer-free ever since. I wrote a book about it, Cancer Schmancer, and during the book tour, I met so many women from all over who’d had experiences similar to mine. And I realized that this was just the beginning for me. This is a problem that needed to be solved.
So I started the Cancer Schmancer Movement, and now I speak as an ambassador for women’s health around the world, preaching Early Detection and Prevention. The best way to cure cancer is not to get it in the first place, and there are many things you can do to reduce your risk. That’s a huge part of what the summit is about. And if, God forbid, you do it cancer, it’s best to catch it as early as possible. Catch it on arrival, 90% survival. That’s another topic we’ll be discussing at the Women’s Health Summit.”
After undergoing so much hurting, healing, and advocating in regards to your struggle with uterine cancer, what are some things you’d like young women to know about their bodies, feminine health, or about taking care of themselves?
“I think the most important thing is to listen to your body and listen to your intuition and take action. You know when something is wrong. That’s why I was relentless. After two years and eight doctors, I got a proper diagnosis. Women have to realize that they are in control and then actually take control. That also means educating yourself about the early warning signs and whispers. You have to be proactive. Women’s cancers mimic many other, more benign diseases. Knowledge is power. And in this case, knowledge can save your life.”
In a page that summarizes your story, it says, “We need to take control of our bodies, become greater partners with our physicians and galvanize as one to let our legislators know that the collective female vote is louder and more powerful than that of the richest corporate lobbyists.” How will your upcoming Women’s Health Summit help contribute to this vision?
“Hopefully, they’ll be motivated to do something when they hear our panel on the environment. Did you know that the average home has 62 toxic chemicals in it? There are 80,000 chemicals on the market in the U.S., and the EPA has only examined 200 of them in 30 years. Something is backwards here. Not just our own health, but the health of our families is at risk. When you see the scope of the problem, you can’t remain silent any more.”
You have been a powerhouse of and for many women in your career as a healthcare advocate- you’ve made us laugh, you’ve made us cry, you’ve challenged us to unlearn and relearn ways to think about caring for ourselves and our female bodies… What’s one thing that keeps you smiling and excited to keep moving in the work that you do?
“There are so many things that keep me going. I love art, being with my friends, going to concerts, hosting dinner parties, being in nature. My house, my husband, and my dog. All of that keeps me smiling and gives me the energy to keep going in my career, my health advocacy, and my life.”
Why is the Carcinogen-FREE Label ACT important for American citizens?
“It helps consumers make informed choices about what they put in their mouths, on their skin, and around their homes and gardens. Because of loopholes in the ingredient labeling system, there is no way to be sure that a product you’re buying is safe for you and your family. This act would change that. So it allows consumers to vote on the products they want with their pocketbooks and to dictate trends.”
At Maxim Hygiene, we define a Fierce Woman as a “glorious female creature whose idea of beauty is hinged upon the idea that she can change the world with each choice, each moment and each breath of her life.” Who in your life is a Fierce Woman and why?
“I’d have to say my mother. I have learned so much from her about self confidence. She taught me how to sell myself as sexy and not to worry about a few pounds more or less. I got my sense of confidence from her.
Also, my surrogate mother Elaine Rich, my personal manager for my entire career, who recently passed away. She was such a blessing in my life. So supportive and nurturing. A true mentor, which I now use as an example to mentor other women.”
With one short week away, you may want to decide to attend Fran Drescher’s Women’s Health Summit in Los Angeles. If you do, be sure to check in with us!