July 24, 2010

Bill Cowher's Wife Dies of Skin Cancer: Kaye Cowher, wife of former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach and current CBS NFL analyst Bill Cowher, has died at age 54 from skin cancer. Kaye was famous before her husband was, earning one of North Carolina's first scholarships for a female athlete in the '70s. She played for North Carolina State and later for the Women's Professional Basketball League and appeared in a Wrigleys Doublemint commercial with her twin sister. More details from Charlotte. A cached story from a Steelers fan site provides more details on the Cowhers' life together.

posted by rcade to football at 10:13 AM - 17 comments

That is terrible, and I had not seen anything at all about her battling a dire illness, so I imagine they had some measure of privacy through all this.

Now he has to go it alone with the three girls. Thank goodness they're well on their way and had their mom for as long as they did.

It's a blessing that they were able to have a period of full family life after Coach stepped down from the Steelers.

posted by beaverboard at 10:45 AM on July 24

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posted by Spitztengle at 11:38 AM on July 24

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posted by tommytrump at 12:12 PM on July 24

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posted by jagsnumberone at 12:33 PM on July 24

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posted by BornIcon at 01:42 PM on July 24

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posted by dviking at 03:30 PM on July 24

That is terrible, and I had not seen anything at all about her battling a dire illness, so I imagine they had some measure of privacy through all this.

I hadn't read anything either. Sounds like they were very private about her struggle.

posted by rcade at 04:07 PM on July 24

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posted by Demophon at 04:13 PM on July 24

I would assume she had a malignant melanoma, since that is one of the fastest spreading cancers, although one of the easiest to detect in its early stages. The problem is that if you are not looking for it, you will easily miss it. I have lived in fear of skin cancer most of my later life, as I was a fair-complected redhead who had frequent severe sunburns in childhood. If there is to be meaning in anyone's death, I hope that the Cowher family will allow this to be used as a cautionary tale and promote the understanding of this dangerous cancer.

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posted by Howard_T at 04:27 PM on July 24

I think that this is a good example of why we shouldn't judge athlete's or coach's career decisions so easily.

I seem to remember that at the time of Coach Cowher's stepping down a lot of talk was that he was pissed that he wasn't getting the $$ he wanted for his next contract. Turns out, there was a whole other dimension to that decision.

While it goes without saying that the focus here should be on the tragedy of a family losing their mother, the lesson for fans with a measure of distance from the coaches/players/teams they support is that we shouldn't presume to know why men and women in these professions make the career decisions they do.

posted by brainofdtrain at 05:14 PM on July 24

My heart goes out to the Cowher family at this time of their darkest sorrow.

posted by steelergirl at 05:49 PM on July 24

I would assume she had a malignant melanoma, since that is one of the fastest spreading cancers, although one of the easiest to detect in its early stages. The problem is that if you are not looking for it, you will easily miss it. I have lived in fear of skin cancer most of my later life, as I was a fair-complected redhead who had frequent severe sunburns in childhood.

It would have been melanoma, as the other two commonly occuring types are usually not fatal. You're right in that sun damage in childhood does increase the risks, but in fact those with light brown hair and green eyes are at a higher risk than blondes or redheads. We have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world down under and a massive public health awareness campaign. I used to run around without any protection as a child, and now suffer because of it - so I make sure that I'm checked annually. So far I've only had the non-malignant basal cell carcinomas found and removed. For melanomas, watch for moles or dark spots/freckles that change colour or shape.

posted by owlhouse at 12:30 AM on July 25

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posted by irunfromclones at 03:48 AM on July 25

A close family member had to have a squamous cell carcinoma removed, so she goes in every six months now for skin checkups. Yearly skin checkups are important for just about everybody in our sun-worshipping culture.

For melanomas, watch for moles or dark spots/freckles that change colour or shape.

Also look for ones that are two different colors or have a jagged edge.

posted by rcade at 08:36 AM on July 25

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posted by yzelda4045 at 10:42 PM on July 25

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posted by scully at 01:30 PM on July 26

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