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October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and if you pay attention to Hollywood, you’ll know there are quite a few survivors who are doing what they can to promote the cause. As I tell my patients, the number one risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman. It doesn’t care how famous or how rich you are so it’s important you take care of your health.
1. Christina Applegate – this 38-year-old actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. She opted to have a double mastectomy because she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene. Currently she is pregnant with a baby girl.
2. Sheryl Crow – this 48-year-old musician was diagnosed in 2006 and after surgery and radiation, she is healthy and a mom to two boys.
3. Cynthia Nixon – this 44-year-old actress famous for her role in Sex and the City fought breast cancer in 2006 but didn’t announce it until 2008 on Good Morning America.
4. Hoda Kotb – this 46-year-old TV host was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 that led to a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. She allowed The Today show cameras to follow her through the process.
5. Melissa Etheridge – this 49-year-old musician was diagnosed in 2004 and underwent chemotherapy.
I would like to further point out that each of these women were not yet 50 years old at the time of diagnosis. Given the new governmental guidelines to start mammograms at 50, I am glad none of the other cancer groups or foundations have changed their recommendations of beginning at 40 years old. I encourage you to please pay attention to your breast health and get imaging when appropriate.