Though we are nearing the end of October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are still many women that will be given the hard news of breast cancer this year. Although breast cancer has many risk factors associated which can increase your chances, it can appear shockingly to many across the spectrum regardless of health, race, or income. Though there are things you can do to lower your chances of breast cancer, getting a regular breast screening is the best way to catch it at its most treatable stages.
Indeed, many women have lived through breast cancer, and use their experience to help remind other women to get regular check-ups and remind them that they are not alone. Some of these women are celebrities you may have heard of, who use their popularity and personal experience in dealing with breast cancer, as well as a good dose of courage, to serve as a source of inspiration to other women.
Cynthia Nixon, best known as “Miranda” on Sex and the City, was diagnosed with breast cancer during a routine mammogram in 2006. She initially battled it without a public announcement of her diagnosis or treatment in fear of related stigma, but in 2008 she announced it to the world in an interview with Good Morning America. She understands why many women avoid mammograms, fearing the worst, but suggested another line of thinking: “(T)he only thing to really be afraid of is if you don’t go get your mammograms, because there’s some part of you that doesn’t want to know, and that’s the thing that’s going to trip you up,” she told Good Morning America. “That’s the thing that could have a really bad endgame.” Since her announcement of breast cancer in 2008, she has become an ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
An American actor and singer, with a career spanning many decades, Diahann Carroll was diagnosed with breast cancer at 63, with no family history of breast cancer. Though the news came as a shock to Carroll, she battled through a lumpectomy and 36 radiation treatments. Now an activist and survivor, in an effort to draw attention to the disease, she invited a camera crew into her treatment room for a national broadcast special.
Singer and songwriter, Sheryl Crow, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, which prompted her to re-evaluate many of her values and goals in life. After undergoing surgery in 2006, followed by radiation therapy – resulting in full recovery, she has since then adopted 2 boys and continues to participate in many fund and awareness raising events for breast cancer. She will be playing a free show at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood on Nov. 16th to raise awareness of breast cancer.
The former First Lady was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. A controversial decision at the time, she elected to have a mastectomy and received much criticism for it. The national coverage she received in treating her breast cancer prompted many women to get mammograms done, a testament of the first lady’s influence and her ability to raise the nation’s awareness of breast cancer.
Designer Betsey Johnson was diagnosed in 2002 with breast cancer. She initially only told her daughter of her breast cancer in fear of it affecting her business. She successfully underwent a lumpectomy and radiation treatment. Johnson let the cat out of the bag when she decided to help General Motors with its annual breast cancer research and awareness campaign on behalf of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. She has gone on to create breast cancer merchandise through her company, with a portion of proceeds going to cancer research.
The Austrailian pop singer was diagnosed in 2005 with breast cancer after initially being misdiagnosed. She is currently in remission after having surgery to remove the lump, as well as chemotherapy. Minogue was acknowledged by the French Cultural Minister in 2008 for an spark in the increase of young women getting checked for breast cancer regularly.
Sopranos and Nurse Jackie actress, Edie Falco, initially kept her 2003 breast cancer diagnosis a secret from castmates and crew for a year. She was 40 when diagnosed and underwent surgery and chemotherapy and was able to work around treatments while filming for Sopranos.
Tennis star Martina Navratilova was taken by surprise when she learned she had breast cancer. Luckily she discovered it early on and had surgery and chemotherapy earlier this year to treat it. She now has a great prognosis and says she is feeling as good as new, resuming tennis and hockey. She has a newfound respect for breast cancer survivors and is encouraged when speaking to fellow survivors to know there is a life after cancer.
Carly Simon underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and reconstructive therapy after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. After her bout with breast cancer, Simon had an even bigger gratitude for life, "I feel stronger and more vital than ever," she told the New York Daily News. "When you actually have a battle, it's better than when you don't know who to fight."
There are many other celebrities whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. Celebrity status has been a great way of reaching a wide audience and getting the message of breast cancer awareness out there. It is also something that enables those dealing with breast cancer to realize they are not alone, and that it can happen to people from all walks of life.
Support means the world to someone going through breast cancer from diagnosis and onward. Through vrious organizations, there are many resources available for people undergoing cancer treatment and their family every step of the way. One such organization, YourShoes (networkofstrength.org), provides a 24-hour hotline staffed by trained counselors who are also breast cancer survivors. They provide information on breast cancer and breast health to anyone affected by this disease.