According to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, every 14 seconds, somewhere in the world, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, making it the most common cancer in women worldwide. There are a number of factors that can put women at risk for breast cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists some of these as getting older, reproductive history, family history of breast cancer and past radiation treatment for cancer of any form. It also lists lifestyle factors such as not being physically active, being overweight and engaging in hormone replacement therapy. Celebrities across the world have spoken about their fight against breast cancer.
5 Hollywood celebrities who have battled breast cancer scare
Many celebrities worldwide often find themselves fighting this demon. Many have also shared their invincible struggles with breast cancer, encouraging others who may be going through the same. Here are some of their most inspiring journeys.
In February 2013, Angelina Jolie discovered that she carried BRCA1 gene mutation, putting her at high risk for breast cancer. An 87% chance of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer was what she was battling against, and hence, decided to go in for preventive surgery – a double mastectomy. She underwent bilateral mastectomies and reconstruction. In May that year, she penned a piece for The New York Times, where she wrote, “Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.”
Check out one of Angelina Jolie’s old Instagram post around her mother’s battle with breast cancer.
September 2017 was the first time that Julia Louis-Dreyfus spoke openly about her breast cancer battle. She finally announced that she was cancer-free, a year later, after going through a double mastectomy and six rounds of chemotherapy. She spoke to People magazine about how it was her family and friends, who surrounded her at all times during her treatment, providing her with a much-needed haven as she healed. “I was surrounded by people who were supporting me,” she adds. “That was hugely meaningful, and I needed it. It helped me to believe I was going to get through,” she had said, adding, “It was like they had their hands underneath me holding me up.”
At the age of 36, Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a lumpectomy, she learnt that BRCA1 genetic mutation, a gene which increases the chance of cancer in the breasts as well as the ovaries. She, then, went in for a double mastectomy and also got her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. The Dead To Me actress said that the mastectomy was a dramatic decision, but one that she took willingly. “It came on really fast. It was one of those things that I woke up and it felt so right…It just seemed like, ‘I don’t want to have to deal with this again. I don’t want to keep putting that stuff in my body. I just want to be done with this & I was just going to let them go,” she told CNN earlier. She added, “It can be very painful. It’s also a part of you that’s gone, so you go through a grieving process and a mourning process.”
Ann, the mother of Cynthia Nixon, best known for The Sex and the City, was a breast cancer survivor, and that put Cynthia at risk. A routine mammogram was when she found out that she had early-stage breast cancer, and her battle began. In an interview with ABC, Cynthia spoke about how the news was terrifying for her, but more so for those around her. “My girlfriend was very scared. … She was the one doing the eating,” she laughed, adding, “She was in a panic. She was just trying to calm herself down any way she could. And, actually, we made a big point of talking to my kids about it.” She also said, “I talked to them together and, basically, I told them, ‘You know, they found some breast cancer in my right breast. It’s very small. It’s very early. I’m going to have an operation. They’re going to take it out, and then we’re going to have six-and-a-half weeks of radiation every weekday, and this is like what Grandma went through and I’m going to be fine.”
Eight rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and 25 radiation sessions – actress Miranda McKeon’s gruelling battle with cancer has been no easy feat. At the age of 19, McKeon felt a lump in her chest just as she was adjusting her top at a party. The Anne with an E actress spoke about this very moment with People. She said, “I immediately started panicking — my first instinct was that it was cancer.” A year later, she was in remission, and took to Instagram to share her thoughts. She wrote, “I want to thank me for believing in me, I want to thank me for doing all this hard work. I wanna thank me for having no days off. I wanna thank me for never quitting. I wanna thank me for always being a giver and trying to give more than I receive. I wanna thank me for trying to do more right than wrong.”
These breast cancer survival stories of Hollywood celebrities are an inspiration for anyone who finds themselves struggling to deal with the illness.