Kristina Braverman's breast cancer diagnosis on the second episode of this season's "Parenthood" may not have played out as is does in real life—being called into the office immediately after a mammogram, silence, all overplayed by Iron & Wine's haunting "Naked As We Come." But the strained smile and tears as Kristina waved across a parking lot to husband Adam, the look of distress that pulled him toward her to see what was wrong—that felt very real.
Television scripts and actors may not always get the real story of breast cancer right. Bringing the experiences to screen, however, has changed the way we think, speak and view the true-life patients and survivors of cancer. TV keesp us very up-to-date and aware, reminding us all through fundraising or gentle nudges or walks for the cure to get a mammogram.
In a nod to Breast Cancer Awareness month, we're taking a look at the television characters who were diagnosed with this gut-wrenching disease during prime time.
1. Dana Fairbanks from "The L Word," played by Erin Daniels, is one of few television characters who dies from the disease on-screen. Diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, Dana's final episodes were full of aching moments.
After it aired, Daniels said that preparing for the passing of her character and her own time as a cast member was very emotional for her. "It felt like I was experiencing the slow death of a best friend and of course that was really painful because I'd become so attached to her. I knew her better than anybody else and I still do and always will," the actress commented.
Online rumors point to creator Ilene Chaiken as admitting she regrets how Dana's fight ended. What was real about Dana's experience? Dana is fit, athletic and young, a counter to the images often written about breast cancer. While her death startled viewers, the tense and sad hospital scenes showed a side of illness otherwise glamorized in medical dramas.
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