Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Sheryl Crow Reflects on 2006 Breast Cancer Diagnosis: ‘What Did I Do Wrong?’

Sheryl Crow Reflects on 2006 Breast Cancer Diagnosis: ‘What Did I Do Wrong?’

Sheryl Crow recently reflected on her battle with breast cancer and the feeling that she thought she’d done something to “deserve” it.

Crow, 61, earned a spot in this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thanks to her successful 30 years as a country and pop singer. The songstress met with People earlier this month to reflect on her climb to the top and share the inspiration behind the songs that made her famous. 

The lyrics to one of those songs, Make It Go Away (Radiation Song), came to her during the most devastating time in her personal life. In February 2006, she ended a three-year relationship-turned-engagement with bicyclist Lance Armstrong. Two days later, she learned she had breast cancer. 

While undergoing treatment, Crow vowed she would work through her grief to ensure it wouldn’t leave her with lasting scars. She did that by penning her song, which she released on her 2008 album Detours.

Sheryl Crow Felt Like She Closed ‘The Book on That Chapter’ With ‘Make It Go Away’ 

“I made an oath that I wouldn’t bury the experience. I’d sit with it and really work my way through it,” she told the publication. “I hold myself up to the standard of being a really good person. So to find myself lying on a radiation table facing my mortality, there are a lot of questions that go along with that. What did I do wrong? Why do I deserve this?”

The lyrics highlight her struggle to understand her diagnosis and prove how she battled to mourn her health and her failed relationship saying, “Sometimes I wonder which hurts worst/The thought of dying or reliving every hurt/Was love the illness and disease the cure?/Oh, the cure.”

In 2019, Crow told People the media hounded her in those days that followed her high-profile split and cancer diagnosis. She remembered people camping outside her house, hoping to snap pictures of her at her “lowest moment.” The added pressure of being thrust into the limelight only made healing harder. 

Sheryl Crow went into remission in 2008. She admitted that releasing Make It Go Away was “like a moment of closing the book on that chapter.”

“It was sort of like, ‘OK, I’ve crossed the finish line, I’ve come out on the other side,’” she continued. “It felt great and empowering.”