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5 Celebrities Who Had Breast Cancer: Stories to Raise Awareness

By HERWriter
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5 Celebrities Who Had Breast Cancer: Their Stories Raise Awareness Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Celebrities are people too. And many celebrities have had to go through their own personal breast cancer journey while being in the public eye. About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to Breastcancer.org.

Here are the stories of some celebrities who have had breast cancer. They have been willing to tell the rest of us about how they were diagnosed, how they were treated, and what they have been doing for the cause ever since.

1) Christina Applegate

When the famous actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2008, even though the cancer was found in only one breast, she opted for a double mastectomy.

Applegate tested positive for the BRCA-1 gene mutation. Her mother is also a breast cancer survivor. She immediately switched to a healthy diet and underwent the double mastectomy to decrease her risks of cancer coming back and spreading.

Founding the nonprofit "Right Action for Women," Applegate raises money to provide financial aid to women at high risk for breast cancer.

2) Sheryl Crow

When the famous rocker was caught with suspicious calcifications in both of her breasts in a routine mammogram, she postponed her tour. Crow underwent minimally invasive surgery and had seven weeks of radiation therapy.

She said, "I am a walking advertisement for early detection," in October 2006, according to Health.com. Crow stressed the importance of routine screenings in catching cancer early. Because the early detection of her cancer, she was able to skip chemotherapy. She supplemented her treatment regimen with acupuncture and herbal teas.

Crow does not have a family history of breast cancer, and in March 2007, she petitioned Congress to fund research into potential links between breast cancer and environmental factors.

3) Cynthia Nixon

Hesitant to reveal her diagnosis at first, the Sex and the City star went public two years after her breast cancer diagnosis. According to Health.com, a cancerous tumor was found in her right breast during a routine mammogram. She went through a lumpectomy and radiation therapy.

Quoted in the New York Daily News, Nixon said, "I didn't want paparazzi at the hospital, that kind of thing," while explaining why she didn’t want her condition to become public during her treatment. Realizing that her story would be an inspiration for women at risk, the actress has since become a breast cancer activist. Nixon’s mother is also a breast cancer survivor.

4) Kylie Minogue

The world-famous Australian singer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. When the first round of tests came out clean, Minogue decided to go in for a second round. The doctors found a lump in her left breast. She underwent a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.

Because of her initial misdiagnosis, Minogue has since been advising women to be wary of their test results and to trust their gut feeling. Quoted on Health.com, she told Ellen DeGeneres in 2007 that "just because someone is in a white coat and using big medical instruments, doesn't necessarily mean they’re right."

5) Robin Roberts

The "Good Morning America" anchor found a lump during one of her routine breast self-exams at the age of 46. She announced her diagnosis by posting an online message the day of her surgery, and she has been publicly raising breast cancer awareness ever since. Roberts went through chemotherapy and radiation for her treatment.

In 2013, Roberts announced that she had myelodysplastic syndrome, a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS can be brought on by cancer treatment. Roberts went through further chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant to treat it.


10 Celebrities who battled breast cancer. Health. Retrieved on October 22, 2015.

Famous faces of breast cancer. Healthline. Retrieved on October 22, 2015.

Understanding Myelodysplastic Syndrome. mds-foundation.org. Retrieved on October 22, 2015.

U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics. breastcancer.org. Retrieved on October 22, 2015.

Reviewed October 26, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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