Parenthood Does Breast Cancer

Wendy-Nielsen-Facebook-ParenthoodOh boy.  Last night, already reeling from the news that a friend from a survivorship group I belong to had passed away from metastatic breast cancer earlier in the day, I caught the end of the show Parenthood.  I don’t usually watch Parenthood – well, I did the first season – but reality TV on Bravo usually trumps scripted programming.

Anyway, I caught maybe the last 15 minutes of the episode titled “Left Field” last night and as soon as I saw Kristina getting her mammogram and thought – “Oh great, Parenthood is doing a breast cancer story line.  And right in time for October.  Perfect.”   And naturally, I took to Facebook too.

A couple of years ago, the show Brothers and Sisters tackled a cancer story line when Calista Flockhart’s character was diagnosed with lymphoma.  I wrote about it in another post:

I’ve been pleased with how the writers have handled the character’s diagnosis and treatment. They have tapped into the fear one deals with facing a deadly illness. They’ve shown Kitty writing letters to your son in the event she dies. They’ve shown her look like crap after chemo – dark circles under her eyes and exhausted. And they’ve shown Kitty search out alternative treatments.

But you know what sucked about the Brothers and Sisters story line?  Kitty was cured by the end of the season.  Boo.  And not boo because she was cured but boo because it was wrapped up pretty with a bow and never heard about again.

So what do I want to see from the breast cancer story line on Parenthood?

parenthoodWhile researching for this post, I did read that Parenthood writer Jason Katmis has had some personal experience with breast cancer as his wife was diagnosed several years ago.  With that news, I’m hoping audiences get to see what a cancer patient experiences from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship.  In addition to wanting to see Kristina freak out, here’s the other things I’d like them to address:

  •  I want to see her go from fearing death to finding the courage to fight the disease and then back again.  Because you know what?  That’s real life.
  • I’d love to see Kristina have to get a mastectomy.
  • For her to be diagnosed with a HER2 cancer or to be BRCA positive (especially because she has daughters and how that diagnosis can affect the future of her girls).
  • I’d definitely like to see her lose her hair from the chemotherapy (yes, most breast cancer chemo drugs make your hair fall out.  I’d really like to see Monica Potter shave her head).
  • I’d love to see her have to deal with babysitting while she has to have seven weeks worth of radiation treatment (or the overall taxing commitment with doctor appointments).
  • I’d like to see her in a cancer support group.
  • I’d like to see her deal with survivor guilt or feeling alienated from her peers or family members.
  • I’d like to see this storyline continue past October and definitely past this season because even when you’re done with cancer treatment, you are never back to normal.

Will I watch this season of Parenthood even though I haven’t watching in two years?

Yes.  Will you?


  1. I really hope the people at ABC see this.

  2. I only have one word for this post…AMEN!!!!

  3. I’m really hoping they get it right too.


  1. […] The Parenthood post where I got 60% of my requests granted (as per one of my readers). What Parenthood is getting right about breast cancer. Feeling guilty about having cancer. Understanding Kristina’s breast cancer HER-2 diagnosis. My love was in full bloom during this episode. Dramatic Oomph or the “very special Christmas miracle” episode. […]

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