Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a life-changing experience. It can be hard to handle the news at first, and even harder to know how to proceed, no matter your prognosis.

While everyone’s journey is unique, knowing that others before you have been through something similar can give you the strength and inspiration you need to keep everything in perspective.

Scroll through the quotes for the type of wisdom gained from great personal struggle, and know that you’re not alone.


Sheryl Crow

In an interview with Reader’s Digest, Crow discussed being diagnosed with breast cancer soon after enduring a break-up with cyclist Lance Armstrong. The experience forced Crow to examine her life, and make the changes necessary to refocus on and care for herself.


Melissa Ethridge

Etheridge spoke to NBC’s Dateline about getting through her battle with breast cancer, as well as breast cancer treatment, with the help of her supportive family.


Giuliana Rancic

Rancic learned that she had breast cancer while undergoing testing for fertility treatment. She had a double mastectomy and now, two years and a baby later, she shares with OK! Magazine that she is cancer-free and happier than ever.


Janet Napolitano

At 35, Napolitano was appointed U.S. attorney for Arizona by Bill Clinton. At 42, a mammogram detected breast cancer, and she had a mastectomy. In an article published in More, Napolitano says that the experience inspired her to open a new medical school, hire 50 percent more nurses, and issue free prescription drug cards to seniors.


Kylie Minogue

Minogue was only 36 and about to embark on a sold-out tour when she learned that she had breast cancer. After undergoing a lumpectomy and partial mastectomy, she retreated to Paris to complete a six-month course of chemo that left her completely wrung out, the Pink Ribbon Foundation reported.


Caroline Monk

Monk’s insistence that she had a lump that her doctor couldn’t feel resulted in a scan that revealed she had stage 3 breast cancer. She told the Pink Ribbon Foundation that throughout the diagnosis and treatment process, she was able to stay calm and come out on the other side.


Cynthia Nixon

According to Atlanticville, Nixon experienced breast cancer first through her mother, a three-time cancer survivor, before she went through it herself. She was able to draw on lessons from her mother, such as trusting your gut, asking questions, and being active in your health, to see her way through her own battle.


Olivia Newton-John

Newton-John’s cancer battle in 1992 left a profound impression on her. A lifelong humanitarian, she went on to write songs about the experience, and became an advocate for breast cancer research and health awareness.


Jaclyn Smith

Charlie’s Angels’ Smith didn’t consider herself at risk for breast cancer because she felt healthy and had no family history of the disease. However, a regular checkup threw her headlong into treatment and what ended up being a very uplifting and productive summer, Smith told Coping magazine.


Robin Roberts

Roberts’ usual sunny demeanor had been tested—and equaled by her fortitude—throughout breast cancer, a life-threatening blood disorder most likely caused by her cancer treatment, and the death of her mother. She shared her story of resilience with Parade.


Christina Applegate

Applegate’s mother had breast cancer at around the same age, so at the news of her diagnosis, Applegate called her mother and literally wallowed in her lap. But she soon picked herself up, jumped into action, and opted for a double mastectomy after learning she had the mutation for breast cancer, she told Women’s Health.


Betsy Johnson

Johnson battled breast cancer privately, only revealing her diagnosis to her daughter, she told Coping, until she’d finished treatment and was declared cancer-free. Now, she speaks openly about her cancer journey, in the hopes of inspiring hope and courage in women who are currently going through the struggle.


Peter Criss

KISS drummer Criss credits his wife with saving his life, he told the radio station 105.7 Hawk in an interview. It was because of her insistence that he went to a doctor for chest pain that ended up being early breast cancer.


Angelina Jolie

Jolie shared her choice to undergo a preventative double mastectomy, which reduced her risk of breast cancer from 87 percent to under five, in a New York Times op-ed. She mentioned that thanks to breast reconstruction, she doesn’t look different to her children, and having her breasts removed didn’t make her feel like any less womanly.