Fighting breast cancer takes strength and courage, but it is essential to know you are not alone. That is why we celebrate these celebrities who, after beating cancer, use their influence to bring up awareness about the disease. We love how they push for early detection and advocate for better treatment and recovery options. This article will show you the inspiring action these celebrities take to address the menace of breast cancer.
The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So, we join in the effort to raise awareness about the disease.
19 Celebrities Who Use Their Fame to Advocate for Breast Cancer Research
1 – Jaclyn Smith
Jaclyn Smith is an ex-model and seventies icon. She is remembered as Kelly Garrett, one of America’s best private investigators in the television series Charlie’s Angels.
Smith discovered a lump in one of her breasts during a regular checkup. She had a lumpectomy and, and later became active in advocacy. She openly shares information about breast cancer risk factors as part of the Strength in Knowing program.
2 – Melissa Etheridge
Melissa remembered performing without any hair on the head during a tribute to Janis Joplin at the 2005 Grammys. The Grammys arrived just as she was finishing a strict regimen of radiation and chemotherapy following the removal of her breast tissue.
She learned a lump in her breast the year before, and she writes the song “I Run for Life” about the fight against cancer.
Melissa had lost her aunt, grandmother, and father to cancer, and felt her own experience advanced to a “spiritual awakening.”
“I understand that I should not do anything that I don’t love completely.” ~Melissa Etheridge
3 – Wanda Sykes
Wanda sees sharp humor in everything around her. However, her health took a severe turn after she decided to make her breasts smaller. The comedian reveals that she received a diagnosis of non-invasive breast cancer after she underwent a breast reduction.
Wanda, who has a long history of breast cancer in her family, opened up about having breast cancer for the first time on the Ellen Degeneres show.
“I just felt so fortunate and honored that I was able to take care of it,” she told Ellen.
4 – Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow is a rock musician with a squeaky-clean lifestyle and no family history of cancer. Crow had a lumpectomy, which removed the cancerous tissue, plus weeks of radiation therapy.
Crow has been an advocate for a ton of causes, including discovering a medication for cancer. In fact, she advocated for that measure even before she was diagnosed with cancer. She pled with the United States Congress to fund research into the possible connection between breast cancer and environmental factors.
5 – Christina Applegate
Christina is an American actress, best remembered as the ditzy Kelly Bundy on Married, with Children. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, with the cells discovered in just one of her breasts.
However, she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. And because that raised her threat of a reoccurrence, she bravely opted for a double mastectomy.
Applegate later established Right Action for Women, a nonprofit that provides financial aid to women at high risk of breast cancer.
6 – Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia is an actress and comedian who starred on Seinfeld and The New Adventures of Old Christine.
In early 2017 Julia revealed she received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Fortunately, the star is cancer-free.
The actress underwent three rounds of chemotherapy. This actress also said that she chose to speak out about her diagnosis and share updates on her treatment. She wanted to take the chance to advocate for affordable health care for everyone.
“I think it’s an important expression to have about health and health care,” she said. “I very much considered the notion that as someone fighting this disease, the idea that I do not have health insurance, which I do thanks to my great union, is completely terrifying.”
7 – Cynthia Nixon
“The Sex and the City” actress underwent six weeks of radiation therapy and removal of her breast tissue when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. According to her, she noted a regular mammogram is an essential way to detect a breast tumor at an early stage. In her family, cancer has been a menace; Nixon’s mother has had cancer twice.
Due to her mum’s breast cancer condition, she began mammogram checks at 35 years, five years earlier than her diagnosis. Thus, she appreciates the importance of conducting mammograms. Moreover, she advises women to request this test frequently. And above all, she voices the need to get screening from an early age.
8 – Maura Lynn Tierney
Lynn is an American film and television actress best known for her roles as Lisa Miller on the sitcom NewsRadio. The star told Everyday Health that she was more afraid of the side effects chemotherapy than of cancer itself. After her diagnosis, the treatments were not as bad as she feared. She stresses that people should research treatment options and speak up about their concerns.
“The idea behind it is to bring into existence a place where people can go to educate themselves about what is about to happen to them. There is a lot of mistaken belief out there,” she said.
9 – Minka Kelly
Kelly is an American actress whose debut was in NBC drama series Friday Night Lights. She also appeared on the shows Parenthood, Charlie’s Angels, and Almost Human.
Historically, Kelly’s family has had several breast cancer cases. Unfortunately, her mother even succumbed to the fatal disease. Kelly’s mother’s demise prompted her to create awareness through breast cancer screening and self-examination. She encourages women to conduct monthly breast self-exams for early detection.
10 – Kylie Minogue
Kylie is an Australian singer who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and underwent chemotherapy and surgery. The Locomotion singer was internationally acknowledged for the impact she made by publicly divulging information about her cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Kylie joined hands with her doctor to advocate about breast cancer. She urges all women to have regular check-ups.
11 – Janice Dickinson
Janice is an American model, actress, author, talent agent, and television personality. Initially, as a model, she was the first to earn the title of “supermodel.”
Janice revealed to the Daily Mail that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer after her doctor noticed a lump on her right breast. According to her, it became quite painful to the touch just after the doctor found it. It was at that point she realized it was dangerous. She advocates for women to speak openly with their physicians and never skip well-woman annual exams.
12 – Suzanne Somers
Suzanne is an American actress, and she portrayed the character Chrissy Snow on 1970s sitcom Three’s Company. Somers received a diagnosis of stage two breast cancer in 2001.
Somers took a holistic approach to her disease and transitioned into a new life from an entertainer to a motivational speaker.
Also, she accepted her doctor’s recommendations for surgery and chemotherapy sessions. However, the road didn’t end there for Ms. Somers. She began nourishing her body with organic vegetables and embraced routine exercise. Her success and self-motivation made her healthier than ever.
13 – Sandra Lee
Sandra Lee is an author and American television food personality. She starred in Food Network’s “Semi-Homemade” cooking show. Lee received a diagnosis of breast cancer in one of her breasts, and the tumor spread to different places in her breast.
She worried that cancer might continue to ravage her body. So, she opted for a double mastectomy to eliminate her concerns. She related her experience in a documentary film called RX: Early Detection and hopes to inspire other women who battle this disease.
14 – Gloria Steinem
Gloria is an American, journalist, and social-political activist who became known nationally as a leader and a spokeswoman for the American feminist movement
She received a diagnosis of breast cancer and had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor. Her experience made her more afraid of dying than aging. Gloria started using her expertise to write, speak out against women’s injustices around the world–including access to health care and breast cancer treatment.
15 – Kathleen Doyle Bates
Kathleen Bates is an American actress of Six Feet Under fame and film director. Coincidentally, Bates was an ovarian cancer survivor before she received a diagnosis of stage two breast cancer.
She developed lymphedema, a swelling in her body extremities. However, there is no cure for lymphedema. Her positive attitude and physical therapy helped her drastically with the side effects.
She is now the spokeswoman for the Lymphatic Education and Research Network and encourages members of congress about publicizing the condition.
16 -Tig Notaro
Notaro is an American writer, radio contributor, actress, and stand-up comic. Her fans adore her deadpan method of comedy. Notaro became famous for performing comedy in which she revealed her breast cancer to the audience. She was diagnosed earlier that day.
She is cancer-free after a double mastectomy. Fortunately, her career skyrocketed from the success of her comedy, Notaro is now working on a book, writing, directing, and starring in a TV show about her life, and of course, still taking the stage.
She advised women battling this disease to keep their sense of self and learn to express themselves.
17 – Diahann Carroll
Diahann is an American actress, singer, and model. She rose to performances in some of the earliest major studio films to feature African-American women. When she first received her diagnosis of breast cancer, she tried to keep it a secret.
Of course, Carroll eventually swallowed her pride when she realized her story could help other women, later she film her radiation treatment. She encourages women to share their stories and unite so that all women can learn from one another. It makes women feel less alone during their battle.
18 – Betsey Johnson
Johnson is an American fashion designer. Women love Johnson for her feminine and utterly unique, whimsical design sense. Johnson learned she had breast cancer after a coincidence that might have saved her life. You see, her breast implant leaked and collapsed, forcing a doctor’s visit.
Because of her bold style, she thought that it might destroy her business. However, Johnson became a vocal advocate for breast cancer awareness. Furthermore, she began a Breast Cancer Awareness line to help fund research.
19 – Olivia Newton-John
Olivia is an Australian songwriter, singer, actress (Grease), entrepreneur, dancer, and activist. Since her diagnosis, Olivia became one of the best-known faces for breast cancer awareness.
She acknowledges an earlier bout with cancer. She recently confessed that she is battling breast cancer for the third time. But, she’s keeping her chin up and refusing to let the disease hold her down without a fight.
Final Thoughts on Celebrities Who Are Breast Cancer Advocates
The brave women on our list use their fame to advocate for women around the world. Whether they promote healthy lifestyles, film documentaries, or push the envelope on a federal level, they are champions for this cause.
These women lend their voices to the cause and shine a light. Shine on, ladies!