black women

How This Actress Battled Cancer

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Vanessa-Bell-CallowayBy Andrew Scot Bolsinger

Vanessa Bell Calloway is a familiar face on the screen, having starred in What’s Love Got to Do With It and Coming to America. But her clash with cancer gave her real-life drama that the actor said she needed to master.

According to a story on, Calloway continued to push the growing medical concerns out of her mind even while doctors kept calling for more tests and she admitted she didn’t feel “quite right.” Eventually doctors confirmed she had breast cancer.

“I was hurt, I was mad,” she said. “I wanted to break something. I like my house, so I didn’t want to destroy it, but I was so angry I wanted to shatter everything, like in the movies. I pounded on my floors instead.”

The actor and former dancer had always taken good care of herself, so the news of the illness devastated at her initially. But her sister and husband, she said, helped jar her out of it and face the problem head on.

“What snapped me out of it was my sister,” Calloway says. “She looked me in the eye and said, ‘Vanessa, it’s a bad breast. Let it go.’ And my husband, who doesn’t’ cry, had tears in his eyes and said, ‘I love you. We have our daughters’ graduations and future weddings to attend, I need you here. I don’t care about that breast!’”

Following successful surgery and breast reconstruction, Calloway has recovered full health. For the past four years she has remained remained cancer free.

“It was wonderful,” she said of both the suffering and the recovery. “We are forced to reflect on things — for me it was patience and faith, the faith to know that God is going to work everything out, and the patience to let him do it. We have to remind ourselves of that.”

Source: blackdoctor

Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at