It sometimes seems as if only so-called ‘normal' people have their cancer stories. With breast cancer it is the same; it would be hard for us to name any celebrities who are breast cancer survivors. Despite them participating in breast cancer awareness events, it still doesn't cross our minds that stars as everybody else on this planet have their breast cancer stories. We think that this article showing breast cancer survivors among celebrities may have an impact on breast cancer awareness of our readers, for it shows that breast cancer stories may be shared by anybody, no matter the status and the quality of life and healthcare they enjoy. Breast cancer risk factors include genetics, age, cancer history, and harmful habits but even people with a healthy lifestyle and without breast cancer history running in the family may suffer from breast cancer.
However, here is the lesson to be learned from celebrities being breast cancer survivors – breast cancer awareness and regular screenings increase our chances to survive this disease. It is important to diagnose it in its early stage.
Generally, survival rates for breast cancer depend on the stage of cancer defined at diagnosis. The stages called stage I, stage II, stage III and stage IV.
One-year net survival for breast cancer is highest for patients diagnosed at stage I, and lowest for those diagnosed at stage IV. 100% of patients diagnosed at stage I survived their disease for at least one year, versus 63% of patients diagnosed at stage IV.
Out of a number of celebrities who are breast cancer survivors we have chosen a couple of them to serve as an example and call for a greater breast cancer awareness by being a witness to stories of them.
Here are the famous breast cancer survivors
Kylie Minogue is a world-famous Australian singer who got to know about her breast cancer in 2005. She underwent a breast cancer treatment including surgery and chemotherapy. She is one of breast cancer survivors who are really outspoken about their hardships in order to increase breast cancer awareness across the globe. Last year while she was preparing to celebrate her 50th birthday, she reflected on her 2005 breast cancer diagnosis on Instagram: “This decade had brought the challenge of breast cancer. With the help of family, friends, medical teams and of course all of you, we made it through.”
Dame Maggie Smith
For some of us a talented actress throughout her career, for younger generations – professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter series, Dame Maggie Smith continued to participate in shooting the movies despite the breast cancer diagnosis which she heard in 2008. However, in the meantime, she has undergone a breast cancer surgery together with supporting cancer treatment in the form of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Cynthia Nixon, one of the co-stars of Sex and the City, is among celebrity breast cancer survivors who learned about their breast cancer during a regular screening. Her example shows us again how important is breast cancer awareness and timely visits to a doctor’s office in fighting this disease. Without a regular mammogram, hers wouldn’t be among cancer stories with a happy end. "I want women most to hear me saying that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. So the only thing to really be afraid of is if you don't 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. That's the thing that could have a really bad endgame." Nixon said.
Today, Cynthia Nixon is glad to participate in events raising breast cancer awareness and proudly wears t-shirts saying ‘breast cancer survivor'.
Betty Ford & Nancy Reagan
Apart from celebrities recruiting from the show-biz, politicians and their wives have also cancer stories. Presidential wives Betty Ford and Nancy Reagan were also among breast cancer survivors. Both of them were speaking openly about breast cancer, hoping that their example will help to increase the breast cancer awareness nation- and worldwide.
Angelina Jolie cannot be counted as one of the celebrity breast cancer survivors per se. Rather, she's among most ardent activists fighting for increased breast cancer awareness. With breast cancer stories running in the family and a high risk of breast cancer detected, she has decided for preventive mastectomy procedure – mastectomy was conducted despite no signs of breast cancer. She, together with many specialists, claims that preventive mastectomy in high-risk patients may increase significantly the breast cancer survival rate by eliminating the threat before it starts to develop.
Lesson to Be Taken?
As we see in all those examples, celebrity breast cancer survivors often could not avoid the breast cancer even with no genetic baggage or unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking which increase the risk of breast cancer.
The key to happy ends for breast cancer survivors lies rather in high breast cancer awareness. For this reason, remember about regular screenings – if yours shall be one of the breast cancer stories, make everything you can for it to end happily.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.