Next Time Won’t You Sing Along With Me: Metastatic Breast Cancer Theme Songs

I recently attended the national meeting of a breast cancer advocacy group. I had never attended this annual event, and overall, I liked it. The speakers were good and the attendees were attentive and enthusiastic. There was even a special session on metastatic breast cancer.

The event concluded with a reception in a hotel ballroom featuring a DJ who played all the block party favorites: The Electric Slide, YMCA and the group’s unofficial theme song, “I Will Survive.”

None of the metastatic breast cancer events I have attended featured dancing or music–it’s  like “Footloose” only starring people with cancer vs. small-town high school kids. In the weeks following the advocacy meeting, I found myself pondering the theme song question–if there WAS music at an MBC event, what would our signature song be?

My family’s “traditional” party song is Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration,” which I guess is from about the same era as “I Will Survive.” I think it was played at one of my cousin’s wedding reception in the early 1980s and it just kind of stuck. It’s a good song, but surely there must be something more recent, something that hasn’t been played to death (so to speak)?

I thought of One Republic’s “We’re Marching On.” I think it’s pretty good–a kind of crowd anthem with a driving beat. But I’m not sure a lot people in the typical MBC demographic would know this one.

I like Gym Classs Heroes’ “The Fighter.” (Sample lyric: Here comes the fighter / That’s what they’ll say to me, say to me, say to me /This one’s a fighter.) That’ s a good song, too, but it’s not really made for dancing.

There’s also Givers’ Up, Up, Up. It has the benefit of having been featured on “Glee,” which means more people would probably know it. On the other hand, it’s also featured in this lame commercial for Lipton ice tea. Plus, let’s face it, the song  probably is really about taking mind altering drugs.

But then as I prepared this post for MBCN’s blog, I had an epiphany. It happened as I reviewed the results of a  recent survey of 1,273 women in 12 countries. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the women surveyed said they “often feel like no one understands what they are going through” while two in five women said they “feel isolated from the non-advanced breast cancer community.”

Sometimes, yes, I do feel like that myself. But to be honest, I also felt alienated from the rest of the world during much of the 1980s when I was a teenager, a feeling captured perfectly in this1984 smash hit.

Feel free to join in:


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25 thoughts on “Next Time Won’t You Sing Along With Me: Metastatic Breast Cancer Theme Songs

  1. Yeah! That’s the ticket! Now I need to find a long, curly wig……or maybe just paint my bald head ala Kiss!

  2. Clever! This one made me laugh!

  3. KOB
    I’m loving this! My own personal favorite mbc tune is from the same era–Pat Benatar’s 1985 Invincible:

  4. MBCNbuzz says:

    Reblogged this on MBCNbuzz and commented:
    Some thoughts on an MBCN theme song. What’s your suggestion?

  5. Laurie says:

    This post made me so happy. And yes, I feel less alone. I also have a worm in my head but it’s not a terrible price to pay for a big smile on a Monday.

  6. Great pick! And now I’m going to go and play it 🙂

  7. Julie dusablon says:

    Hmmmmm. As a songwriter With stage four mets to bone perhaps I shall write us an anthem! Stay tuned.

  8. Colleen Logan Hofmeister says:

    LOVE this! After being diagnosed with late stage breast cancer and extensive mets throughout my skeletal system, I often joke that my new them song is, “Bad to the Bone”!!!

  9. Best. Post. Ever. I HATE that “Celebration” type of song anyway, when used at cancer events. Being an aging alternative nation girl (with a Red Hot Chili Peppers logo tattoo over my cancer scar…where my nipple used to be), I prefer more “complaint rock” songs. My treatment theme song? “I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones (obviously, see my Gravatar).

  10. Rebecca says:

    The song I live by: “My Way”. There’s a cover for every mood: Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Nina Simone, or my personal fav, Sid Vicious.

  11. Cyndi says:

    Kelly Clarkson’s song Stronger was used by a girl who was going through chemo and radiation and she made a montage video of her singing the song while going through treatments.
    I feel I can sooooo relate to it. 🙂

  12. Thanks for this, Katherine. My favorite MBC song was sung at a meeting in Chicago, last October. Unprintable (?) but I thought it was great –

  13. Shirley A. Mertz says:

    Amen, Katherine!

  14. Ethel says:

    “I’m Still Here” from Follies by Stephen Sondheim.
    ” Good times and bum times,
    I’ve seen them all and, my dear
    I’m still here.”
    I am 81 years young with 4 years of MBC to bones and lungs. I still work part time with Retirees and also play violin in a community orchestra. My fourth treatment may be failing. But — I’M STILLL HERE!

  15. dear katherine,

    what a great post! and i love all the comment’s, too. music is such a universal language – from pop to punk to rock to sondheim. i enjoyed it all. thanks so much!

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