1. Dana Fairbanks, The L Word
Dana Fairbanks, played by Erin Daniels, is one of few television characters who dies from the disease on-screen. Diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, Dana’s final episodes were full of aching moments.
After it aired, Daniels said that preparing for the passing of her character and her own time as a cast member was very emotional for her. “It felt like I was experiencing the slow death of a best friend and of course that was really painful because I’d become so attached to her. I knew her better than anybody else and I still do and always will,” the actress commented.
Online rumors point to creator Ilene Chaiken as admitting she regrets how Dana’s fight ended. What was real about Dana’s experience? Dana is fit, athletic and young, a counter to the images often written about breast cancer. While her death startled viewers, the tense and sad hospital scenes showed a side of illness otherwise glamorized in medical dramas.