Celebrities Who Faced Breast Cancer
Edna Orozco on October 18, 2023. Visit author social media
Even for those of us who haven't personally experienced it, breast cancer feels deeply personal. This sentiment arises from the fact that this disease affects one in eight women, so most of us have a family member or close friend who has faced this diagnosis. Furthermore, we continually see its far-reaching impact reflected in our popular culture.
The entertainment industry, which provides an escape from reality, also serves as a stark reminder that breast cancer's devastating effects spare no one. Consider the cast of any beloved '90s TV series like Beverly Hills 90210, Married With Children, Seinfeld, or Sex and the City. Alternatively, think about the hosts of your morning news show, which has likely been part of your daily routine for years. It's highly probable that at least one of these stars has grappled with breast cancer. Even some of our cherished authors, iconic movie stars we grew up watching, comedians who make us burst into laughter, and awe-inspiring athletes have faced this disease.
What unites all these celebrities is a certain perception of invincibility, often coupled with access to top-notch medical care, personal chefs, and fitness trainers. Yet, many still find themselves in a battle against breast cancer or standing alongside a loved one facing the same challenge. As a reminder of how far-reaching this disease is, here are some celebrities, among many others, whose lives have been touched by breast cancer.
Shannen Doherty, the star of Beverly Hills 90210, who is now 50 years old, received her first breast cancer diagnosis in 2015. She achieved remission through a combination of treatments and courageously documented her emotional head-shaving process during chemotherapy. However, in February 2020, she shared the heartbreaking news that her cancer had returned as metastatic breast cancer (MBC), or stage IV, meaning it had spread to other parts of her body and was no longer curable. She discovered this when she experienced severe back pain and underwent scans. Despite this shocking diagnosis, she decided to join the 90210 reboot in 2019, seeing it as an opportunity to demonstrate her ability to continue working despite her health challenges, saying, "I'm not signing off. I feel like I'm a very, very healthy human being."
Maya Rudolph, one of the most humorous comedians in the industry, has a breast cancer connection that can move you to tears. At just six years old, the Saturday Night Live star lost her mother, Minnie Riperton, to breast cancer. Riperton was a star in her own right, a soul singer best known for the 1975 mega-hit "Lovin' You," which she originally wrote to soothe her baby, Maya. Riperton underwent a double mastectomy, became a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, and received the Cancer Courage award from President Jimmy Carter. However, breast cancer claimed her life just four years later, at the age of 31. It's a story Rudolph has seldom shared, as she confessed, "For many, many years, I couldn't even touch this conversation."
When the actress discovered she had a BRCA mutation, which gave her an 87% risk of developing breast cancer, she made the courageous decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy to reduce that risk to 5%. Jolie shared the details of her diagnosis and decision in a piece for The New York Times, encouraging others facing serious health issues, saying, "Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of." Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, passed away at the age of 56 after battling ovarian cancer for a decade.
In 2017, shortly after winning her sixth consecutive Emmy for Veep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus revealed via Twitter that she had been diagnosed with stage II breast cancer, saying, "One in eight women get breast cancer. Today, I'm the one." Her treatment included six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. To mark the end of her treatment, her sons delivered a memorable lip-sync performance of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" in a video she shared on her Instagram. Louis-Dreyfus expressed her gratitude for the support of her family and friends, as well as her excellent insurance through her union. She also highlighted the importance of universal healthcare, as not all women are as fortunate.
Key words: celebrities, breast cancer, famous people, breast cancer survivors, celebrities with breast cancer, breast cancer diagnosis, Hollywood stars
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