On November 14th, 2016, the world lost singer-songwriter Holly Dunn to GYN Carcinosarcoma – a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer. To the great loss of her family, friends, and fans, Holly died in hospice in Albuquerque, New Mexico, surrounded by people she loved. Her death was reported by the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, People country, and many other publications.
Holly is acclaimed for a string of Top 10 country hits released in the late 80’s and early 90’s, including “Daddy’s Hands,” “You Really Had Me Going,” “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me,” and “Love Someone Like Me.” She won two Grammy nominations for “Daddy’s Hands” in 1987 and had two number one songs on the country charts in 1989 and 1990.
She was a pioneer in the chiefly male-dominated recording industry, as she wrote, produced, and recorded her own material. Holly was named top female vocalist by the Academy of Country Music in 1986 and Country Music Association’s most promising newcomer in 1987. She retired from recording in 2003 to devote her time to painting, displaying her work in the Pena-Dunn Gallery in Santa Fe.
Holly’s Battle with Ovarian Carcinosarcoma
In a June interview with Christian publication Hallels, Holly revealed that she was diagnosed with ovarian carcinosarcoma in March 2016 and discussed her ongoing struggle with this terrible disease. At that time, she had undergone surgery and was receiving chemotherapy treatments, but had already developed additional tumors in spite of the treatment.
Ovarian Carcinosarcoma or MMMT (malignant mixed Müllerian tumor) is an aggressive form of cancer that is difficult to detect in the early stages. The five-year survival rate is 5% to 40%, and the stage at which the tumor is detected is the most significant factor in prognosis.
Tragically, too little is known about this life-threatening disease, and there is currently no standard treatment. As carcinosarcoma accounts for only a small percentage of female reproductive system cancers, it has not been at the research forefront, although the mortality rate is disproportionately high.
Surgery is the primary treatment option for MMMT, but high rates of post-operative metastasis call for additional treatment after surgery. Treatment varies from patient to patient, depending on the stage and metastatic pattern of the tumor, and other factors. However, neither chemotherapy nor radiation has proved to be significantly effective in treating carcinosarcoma tumors in the later stages.
Honor Holly with a Donation to Fight This Disease
In lieu of flowers or gifts, Holly Dunn’s family is requesting that donations be made to the Gynecologic Carcinosarcoma (GCS) Fund at Massachusetts General in Holly’s honor. It is their heartfelt wish that this personal tragedy will lead to further research to fight this terrible disease and make it a thing of the past.
The Gynecologic Carcinosarcoma (GCS) Project was established at Massachusetts General Hospital to support research to find a cure for this deadly form of cancer, for which so little hope is offered by current treatment options. When you make a donation in Holly’s honor, your entire donation will go toward MMMT research.