Knowledge is power. And as breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge knows, it’s never too early for women to start learning about themselves. “It’s important to know yourself and your body,” Melissa tells OK! “But unfortunately, our society and educational system and whole Western way of living does not support the female experience. ??

 

“We are so much more than pretty things that go to work,” adds the Awakening singer, who was diagnosed in 2004. “The best thing you can do as a healthy girl is to understand what health is and that it is balanced. Don’t worry about how thin you are—it’s acidic behavior and it’s toxic. It’s a bad road to go down and you will kill yourself.”

With the support of her love, Tammy Lynn Michaels, Melissa not only won her battle but has dedicated herself to promoting awareness through events such as Hard Rock’s Rocktober series, a live-music driven campaign to help educate and inspire during Breast Cancer Awareness month. “I remember three years ago, all the cards and fan letters came, and three people said cancer,” she says. “People don’t like to say cancer.”

Despite the fear associated with breast cancer, Melissa, 46, knows that facing the disease is the first step toward fighting it—even though the road to recovery can be painful. “The chemotherapy is barbaric and it’s horrible,” Melissa told OK! at the Rocktober kickoff event in New York’s Times Square. “It takes you as close to death and it brings you back and it takes you back again. It’s insanity, but I knew I would come out of it.” ?

To support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Melissa is auctioning a signed guitar and front-row ticket package, including a backstage meet & greet, for her Summer 2008 tour. The auction ends Oct. 25, 2007.

By Alisandra Puliti

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