PUBLISHED: 5:50 PM on Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Enrolling in cancer college
"Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips" Part 3
On Valentine's Day in 2003, then 31-year-old Kris Carr learned she had a rare, incurable stage IV cancer in her liver and lungs. The actress and model, best known as a "Bud Girl" in Superbowl commercials, went on the attack. The result led to a documentary about her battle on The Learning Channel and an "advice from the trenches" book she wrote titled "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips." Following are excerpts from Chapter 3 of her book, part 3 of a 10-part series.

Chapter 3: Cancer College

"Make no mistakes - cancer makes you very busy! I don't care what you majored in or flunked out of, your new profession is getting well. If you've never run a business before, then this is the perfect time to learn. By the time we're through, you'll be the Warren Buffet of Cancer Management.

"What's cancer anyway?

"To truly answer that question, let's start with what cancer is not.

"Cancer isn't a punishments you deserve based on your actions or lack thereof. Cancer isn't a disgrace caused by a crazy drug-induced sexcapade. Cancer isn't a curse passed down through generations of misbehaved families who robbed banks, drank too much, and forgot to send thank-you notes.

"There is nothing taboo about cancer, and it certainly isn't contagious.

"People's body language reveals a lot about our society's preconceived prejudices about cancer. It happens to all of us. Watch as one of your friends slowly backs away as you reveal your scarlet letter C. Take it with a grain of salt. Nobody wants to die; it's just too permanent.

"Now that we know what cancer isn't, we can explore what cancer is. Most of us think of cancer as a disease characterized by the runaway growth of cells due to a genetic mutation. While this is basically true, it's only part of the picture. As my doctor describes it, cancer is actually the result of an imbalance between cell growth and cell death.

"For cancer to happen, then, there has to be a mutation that damages the policing gene. In this case the bad cells continue to replicate (and refuse to kick the bucket) - to the point that they begin to choke out the good guys.

"Getting organized and setting clear goals will help you establish your direction. Since you certainly have a lot on your plate, it's important to devise a strategy for success.

"Every effective CEO knows the key to success is employing a staff of winners. Your very first job as CEO of a cancer recovery conglomerate is to handpick a save-my-butt staff of family, friend, doctors, and/or other kinds of healers. Only the cream of the crop will do.

"Thankfully, there is a new wave of oncologists out there who've reevaluated the shock-and-awe 'war on cancer' approach of the 1970s and 1980s. Back then, the common goal was to shrink the tumors at any cost, and as a result, many people suffered tremendously. Often the patient's quality of life was completely destroyed - only to have the cancer return.

"Most people don't think about disease like high blood pressure or diabetes in the same way that they think about cancer, and yet much of what doctors are doing today is treating cancer like a kind of chronic disease.

"Perhaps we need to stop 'waging war' and start understanding, so that cancer will seem less threatening both physically and mentally and people will be able to live many years with the disease 'if they have to.'"

Reprinted with permission from "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips," published by skirt! Books, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press. To purchase this book, go online to or a local bookstore.