While no one wants to hear of other people being stricken with
cancer, celebrities with breast cancer often use their illness to
help make people
more aware of the risks of breast cancer as well as give others
with the disease hope that they can overcome it as well.
Edie Falco, star of both HBO shows "The Sopranos" and
"OZ" was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was a
young 40 years old, in 2003. She didn't tell people at first, but
instead secretly went into treatment. She didn't reveal her cancer
until after she was declared cancer free, but after that talked
about openly. She was only secretive because she didn't want to be
asked constantly how she was feeling and if she was all right.
Jaclyn Smith whom everyone knows as Kelly Garret, one of
"Charlie's Angels" from the same-named TV show of the
1970s, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 56 years old
in 2002. Most cases of breast cancer occur in women who are 55
years or older. Jaclyn was treated with a lumpectomy and
radiation, because the disease was caught early during a routine
self-exam. She works with groups like Susan G. Komen for the Cure
and talks publicly about early detection and breast cancer risks.
Christina Applegate is one of the youngest and most vocal
celebrities with breast cancer. She was diagnosed in 2008 when she
was only 36 years old. The former star of "Married with
Children" was filming her new successful hit show
"Samantha Who?" when she was diagnosed. She tested
positive for a gene mutation that greatly increases the risk of
breast cancer. And because her mother had also been diagnosed with
breast cancer more than once, making heredity just one more risk
factor for the young woman, she opted to not just have the breast
with the cancer removed, but to have both removed. This double
mastectomy was a preventative measure to stave off any future
cancer. Applegate speaks out for the available of MRI testing for
women of all income levels, because it was this test that detected
her cancer early and has probably saved her life by reducing her
risk of the cancer spreading or recurring.
Rocker Melissa Etheridge is one of the most recognizable
celebrities with breast cancer. She was diagnosed at age 43 in
2004. She had a lumpectomy, which removes only the lump, and then
an aggressive course of chemotherapy to help prevent spread and
recurrence. She caught the cancer while giving herself a self-exam
in the shower, and gave a performance in 2005 at the Grammy awards
while bald, after having lost her hair to the chemotherapy. Many
people in her family died of cancer, so she is now an outspoken
advocate of prevention and research.
Rocker Sheryl Crow is also one of the most well known
celebrities with cancer. She was diagnosed at 44 in 2006, and is
outspoken about early detection. Surgery and radiation were her
treatments, with no chemo because the cancer was caught in the
very early stages.