Breast cancer is a terrifying diagnosis. The tireless breast cancer awareness campaign — with its ubiquitous pink ribbons — has made great strides in educating people about early detection. And there are many, many stories of successful treatment and long lives lived post-cancer. But the diagnosis, even when it’s an early catch, delivers news no one wants to hear.
Imagine on top of your fear, you also feel a responsibility to your fans. That’s what happens when someone famous gets a diagnosis. They not only have to muster the courage to fight the cancer, but in most cases they realize they have to do it in a way that sets an example for others. It’s part of being in the public eye, and in many ways it could be a celebrity’s most enduring legacy — as a role model for other women fighting the disease in private. These 11 famous women have all received a diagnosis of breast cancer — or had preventive procedures to prevent its likely occurence. They each fought it bravely, and emerged as examples to others.
- Angelina Jolie (double mastectomy)
- Christina Applegate (double mastectomy)
- Giuliana Rancic (double mastectomy)
- Hoda Kotb (mastectomy)
- Kathy Bates (double mastectomy)
- Judy Blume (double mastectomy)
- Lynn Redgrave lived seven years after her mastectomy, writing an extraordinary memoir of her recovery: Journal: A Mother and Daughter’s Recovery from Breast Cancer
- Nancy Reagan (mastectomy at 66; cancer free at age 94)
- Olivia Newton-John (mastectomy)
- Sharon Osbourne (double mastectomy)
- Wanda Sykes (double mastectomy)