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Icarus Film
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From The Fanlight Collection
How Can We Love You?
Directed by By Laura Sky
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How Can We Love You gives unprecedented voice and presence to women living with metastatic breast cancer (cancer which has spread to other parts of the body: treatable, but rarely curable.) It tells the stories of Mary Sue Douglas and Jan Livingston, who traveled across North America performing in the play, Handle With Care. This moving video explores Mary Sue and Jan's 'backstage' reality, as they struggle to integrate their stage roles with their everyday lives and with the need to cope with cancer treatment. Both women talk frankly about their feelings of mortality, but also about their joy and fulfillment in making a difference for other women in the same situation. "I love it when people say that our play made them feel not so alone," says Jan, "that it validated what they were feeling."

The film is designed to inform and inspire women with breast cancer, their families and their caregivers, as well as healthcare professionals and anyone dealing with a life-threatening illness.

[Note: Jan Livingston and Mary Sue Douglas were tireless advocates for women with cancer. Jan became very ill during the film's production, and died in the fall of 2000. Mary Sue died suddenly in March of 2002. She had lived with cancer for 14 years, and with metastatic cancer for more than seven years.]

Handle With Care's cast included cancer survivors, researchers and professional actors. This innovative play was created in reaction to research studies which demonstrated some central concerns for both cancer survivors and their caregivers: feelings of isolation and social stigmatization, lack of adequate information, and problems of communication between women and their doctors.

"An important contribution to cancer care. Provides a sensitive and extraordinary tool for training physicians, nurses and other care providers working with people with cancer. A catalyst to discuss issues that are difficult to raise and often left silent."Anne Rochon Ford, health journalist

"An important film for women living with breast cancer as well as for the people who care for and love them. It is first and foremost about relationships and caring for the people we love."Jennifer Keck, breast cancer survivor and advocate

"I need my colleagues to see this film. They always say they're too busy to take time out. If I had seen this film when I was first nursing, I would have been a better nurse."Nurses' comments

"A vivid testament to the power of creativity, affirmation and bonding of women who have metastatic breast cancer. Should be seen by health care students and professionals, hospice patients and workers, religious and community groups, and gerontology faculty teaching courses focusing on older women and gerontology and the arts."The Gerontologist

71 minutes / Color
Release: 2001
Copyright: 2001

For individual consumers (home video)

This DVD is sold for private, home use only.

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Study guide available

Subject areas:
Cancer / Oncology, Grief & Recovery, Healthcare, Women's Health Issues

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