17 celebrities who've lived with breast cancer
Battling breast cancer takes strength and courage, but it's important to know you're not alone. That's why we're celebrating these 17 women and men who, after beating cancer, have used their influence to raise awareness about the disease, push for earlier detection, and advocate for better treatment and recovery options. Read on for their stories, and get the information you need to protect your own health.
The beloved author of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret surprised fans when she announced in a blog post that she was diagnosed with breast cancer this year at the age of 74. She wrote of her initial disbelief: "Wait -- me? There's no breast cancer in my family. I've never smoked, I exercise every day, forget alcohol. How is this possible?" After a mastectomy, she is in full recovery.
The actress known to most of us as the fiery redhead Miranda on Sex and the City was diagnosed in 2006 at the age of 40. Nixon's mother is also a breast cancer survivor. "I always sort of thought, 'I'm probably going to get breast cancer. There's a really good chance,'" she has said. After beating the disease, she became an ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Australian singer Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 at the age of 36. "One important thing to know is you're still the same person during it. You're stripped down near zero. But it seems that most people come out at the other end feeling more like themselves than ever before," she has said. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Health Science in the UK for her advocacy work.
The celebrated anchor of ABC's Good Morning America was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 at the age of 46. "I found my lump in a self-exam!" she told Prevention. "Because I was familiar with my body and the lumps, I knew this one felt different. It was in a different place on my breast, and it was hard. If I hadn't been doing self-exams, I wouldn't have known that." Roberts received a lumpectomy and chemotherapy and made a full recovery, but has since been diagnosed with another condition: myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which has been speculated to be a result of the radiation from her cancer treatment. MDS is very rare, and Roberts has urged women not to disregard radiation as a treatment.
E! News sweetheart Giuliana Rancic was diagnosed in 2011 at the age of 36. "The one word I always saw in all the messages was strong," she has said. "You're so strong, stay strong, be strong -- when you hear something enough, you start believing it." Rancic is now in full recovery after a double mastectomy, and she and husband Bill Rancic just welcomed their first child, Edward Duke, through a surrogate.
The Up All Night star was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at the age of 36 and credits following a macrobiotic diet for staying healthy and strong. "There's a certain way in which [food is] prepared and a certain way that you're eating that's geared toward healing," she has said. Applegate founded Right Action for Women, an organization that raises breast cancer awareness and helps fund screenings for underinsured women.
This singer, songwriter and activist was diagnosed in 2004 at the age of 43. "This turned out to be a very good thing," she said. "I stopped. I looked at my life; I looked at my body and spirit. I got a new perspective. That's brought me incredible clarity and a lot of peace." Etheridge made an emotional and inspiring statement by performing at the Grammys in 2005 bald after receiving her chemo treatment. "Why should I hide my truth? I had cancer. I had chemotherapy. I lost my hair. There's no shame in that," she later said.
The whipsmart Sopranos star was diagnosed, in 2003 at 40. "I take very good care of myself (mostly because I didn't many years ago), and that served me well during chemo," she later said. Though she kept her diagnosis a secret at first, Falco has since spoken out about it and is now a spokesperson for Health Care for America Now.
Women aren't the only ones who can get breast cancer. Roundtree, famous for his tough-guy role in the 1970s Shaft movies, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 at the age of 51 -- but kept quiet about it until he had been cancer-free for five years. He finally went public about his diagnosis and recovery at a celebrity golf tournament that was raising money for a mobile breast cancer diagnostic unit. "The room was totally silent," he later said. "I think it dawned on people that men can be affected by this, too." He now travels the country to raise awareness about male breast cancer.