Famous Faces of Breast Cancer
Celebrities with Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the more common types of cancer, affecting one in eight women. Tumors can often go unnoticed, and because of the hereditary nature of this cancer, lifestyle has little effect over the development of the disease. Because of this, no amount of fame or money can guard against the development of breast cancer. Read about prominent women who have suffered and overcome the disease, and are active in promoting cancer research and education.
Although doctors only found cancer in one breast, Christina chose to have a double mastectomy. Her mother is a breast cancer survivor, and so Christina went into “survivor mode,” immediately switching to a healthy diet and underwent surgery. She has since participated in several charity events to raise money for cancer education and research.Photo courtesy of alotofmillion (CC A-SA 3.0)
The country music singer began raising money and awareness for cancer even before her own diagnosis in 2006. She underwent minimally invasive surgery and radiation, and now embraces a healthy diet and lifestyle to keep her cancer away.
The Sex and the City star initially avoided going public about her diagnosis because of the stigma involved. But after announcing that she had breast cancer two years after the fact, she has since become a breast cancer activist. Like many other breast cancer victims, Cynthia’s mother also battled the disease.
The Australian singer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, treating it with surgery and chemotherapy. Kylie urges others to take responsibility for their own health—she was misdiagnosed initially and told that she was healthy. Minogue persisted in getting an accurate diagnosis for the lump found in her breast, and it was only after this second investigation that her tumor was detected. Kylie advises others to be wary of blindly following doctors.
Olivia Newton John
The Grease star and singer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. After surgery and chemotherapy, Olivia retreated to Australia to recuperate. During this hiatus, Olivia recorded Gaia, One Woman's Journey, an intensely personal and upbeat album. Olivia chose to talk about her experiences with breast cancer so that other women could see the importance of early detection and that survival is possible.
Simon underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and reconstructive surgery for her breast cancer during 1997 and 1998. There had been a lump in her breast for several years before then, but her doctors initially advised her against surgery. She regrets not treating her cancer earlier, but still succeeded in removing her tumors.
Dame Maggie Smith
When the 73-year-old actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, she insisted on filming her sixth appearance as Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. After having the lump removed, Smith had chemotherapy and radiation treatments while filming the movie.
The former Charlie’s Angel battled breast cancer in 2003. She is now involved in “Strength in Knowing,” an online support system for women struggling with cancer. In 2010, Smith, along with Olivia Newton-John, was featured in 1 a Minute, a documentary about breast cancer.
The actress and author was the source of much controversy when she decided to forgo standard cancer treatment in favor of alternative therapy and holistic medicine. She wrote Knockout to promote alternative treatments to chemotherapy, which received criticism from the American Cancer Society.
Gloria Steinem, now considered one of the original voices of the women’s liberation movement, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986. Despite her disease, she continued to give speeches, write, and involve herself in politics.
Good Morning America anchor and former ESPN reporter Robin Roberts was diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer in 2007. With treatment, including chemotherapy, she beat breast cancer and returned to the anchor desk.
In 2013, Roberts announced she had myelodysplastic syndrome, which can be brought on by cancer treatment. Roberts would require further chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant to treat it.
E! News star and red carpet host Giuliana Rancic discovered she had breast cancer while undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatment in 2011. After her diagnosis, Rancic had a double lumpectomy, began radiation treatment, and later underwent a double mastectomy.
Less than a year after she announced the diagnosis, Rancic returned to E! and welcomed her first child via a gestational carrier.
As co-host of NBC’s Today Show and an experienced reporter, Hoda Kotb knows a thing or two about life in front of the camera. The journalist made her personal life public in 2007 when she allowed Today Show cameras to document her cancer treatment.
Kotb’s surgery was successful and she celebrated five years of being cancer-free in October 2012.
Breast cancer didn't run in author Judy Blume’s family. She didn't eat red meat, smoke, or drink—other risk factors for cancer. Still, she received a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma after a routine ultrasound in 2012.
At 74 years old, Blume underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction. She detailed her experience in her blog and credits a network of friends that helped her through treatment.
It's tough enough to beat cancer once. Kathy Bates, who often plays resilient and indomitable characters in movies, did it twice. After overcoming ovarian cancer in 2003, Bates announced in 2012 that she'd beaten breast cancer as well.
The Titanic and Misery star revealed that she successfully underwent a double mastectomy and would not need radiation or chemotherapy.
In 1987, while Ronald Reagan was still in the White House, the First Lady was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a single mastectomy and made a full recovery.
First Lady Reagan’s experience led to a wealth of media attention, which sparked an increase in the percentage of women having screening mammograms.
Comedienne Wanda Sykes was diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer after having a breast reduction in early 2011. Despite the low risk, she opted for a double mastectomy. Sykes said she took an aggressive approach to treatment to give herself the best odds for a healthy life.
After a month of healing, Sykes returned to her stand-up comedy tour.