CBSN

Etheridge: Knowledge Gave Her Courage

Rock star and breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge is singing out against breast cancer.
CBS/The Early Show
Rock star and breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge is singing out against the disease.

Etheridge recently spoke with Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kaufman, who is also a breast cancer survivor.

Four years ago, the singer/songwriter found a lump in her breast and was diagnosed with cancer.

Kaufman was diagnosed in February 2001 and said she knows what it's like to get that phone call and hear the word "carcinoma" on the other end.

"They say the scientific word, you're like -- that's cancer. Right?" Etheridge said.

Etheridge won her personal battle against the disease, declaring herself cancer-free in late 2005.

Still in the trenches however, Etheridge has joined forces with the Hard Rock Café's Pinktober live music campaign for breast cancer awareness and has donated her time and memorabilia to the cause.

"I didn't know. I didn't understand what cancer was until I got into it. Then you get the information, and you go, 'Oh, this is what it is,'" Etheridge explained.

The rock star educated herself about the science of cancer, as well as the benefits of good nutrition and living stress-free.

According to Etheridge, knowledge gave her courage.

"There are those who still respond with fear and stay in the fear, and I try to inspire them to look up and go, 'this is a chance.' Life always gives you these balances, and it's a chance to understand that, and brings more light into your life," Etheridge explained.

Etheridge was a true inspiration for all during her 2005 Grammy performance -- her appearance revealed the evidence of her chemotherapy.

No one suggested that she wear a hat or a scarf for the performance.

"I went through that process myself. I thought - 'OK. I'm bald.' And I came to the same conclusion as I always have, of, I need to be myself, and I need to be in my truth, and the truth is I'm a cancer survivor, and I had just been through treatment and I'm bald," she said proudly.

It may not be surprising that Etheridge's new CD is a Christmas album this time around.

"The whole experience changed me. So it changed my music, and now my music comes from that place -- the spiritual place of that, the passion and emotional love of life. That's where the music comes from now," she said.