Sadness: Polish violinist dies of breast cancer, at 36

February 22, 2018 by norman lebrecht


The death has been announced of Anna Karkowska, one of two musician sisters who created a stir with a series of videos made with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Anna died on February 14 of breast cancer in New York state, where she had made her home for the past 20 years.


Comments (6)

  1. Sue says:

    Absolutely bloody dreadful. Meanwhile, evil gets to live another day.

    1. Doug says:

      Indeed. And he carries a copy of “Rules for Radicals” with him.

  2. John Borstlap says:

    An awful strory. Condoleances for her family and friends… Why is the human being so frail and vulnerable? And meanwhile we are fed with the presence of hell on the news every day, the diabolical evel lots of people enthusiastically inflict upon others, including women and children. Stories like this one about Mrs Karkowska point towards the importance of music as one of the things which make human life worthwhile and meaningful, amidst the senselessness.

  3. Sharon says:

    To add a nurse’s point of view. I remember the case during my clinical training of the teenage girl with a gynecological (American spelling) cancer that was diagnosed late because no one thought that a teenager would have a gynecological cancer. Health insurance companies generally do not pay for annual or bi annual mammogram screenings before the age of 45 or 50 and who knows if Ms Karkowska, a freelancer, even health insurance?
    I do not want to be reprimanded by other bloggers for making up statistics but I have seen a number of times the literature and emails of health care advocacy groups quoting studies estimating that tens of thousands of people die each year in the United States because of ailments not caught or treated early enough because the patient did not have health insurance. Ms Karkowska may have been one of those statistics.
    Even if she was not this case emphasizes the importance of girls being taught to do breast self exams as soon as they reach puberty and to see a gynecologist whenever they feel a lump. It’s probably nothing but it COULD be something.
    My condolences also go out to the family and especially her sister

    1. Alan says:

      Agree totally with Sharon but in an “ideal world” where every young woman has an annual mammogram and every young person a colonoscopy? Would bankrupt most providers in many countries at this point in time. I have taught a generation of medical students and always advised them to “pick their parents wisely” but there is always a first generation of gene carrier that may or may not be known. And we will not know in this case, as with so many others. One day life and death may not be this random but only time and research will tell. My sympathy to her family and friends.

      1. Robert Holmén says:

        Since it’s mentioned I’ll note that the mammograms have turned out to be ineffective at moving the needle on survival. Maybe she had them or maybe she didn’t… it might not have been a factor anyway.

        The article notes that they may be useful for certain older age groups.

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