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Celebrities Who've Lived with Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can affect anyone, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity. It is the most common type of cancer in the UK, accounting for almost 15% of all cases in males and females combined. Breast cancer has a hereditary nature, which means that no amount of fame and fortune, or a glamourous lifestyle, can prevent the development of the disease.  

The only way you can truly safeguard yourself is to get regular mammograms to significantly increase your chances of finding early signs of breast cancer in time for treatment. Here are some brave and inspiring Hollywood celebrities who have fought and survived breast cancer.

Christina Applegate

Christina Applegate, a popular American comedy actress known for her work on Married, With Children and various movies, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at the age of 36. After finding out she carried the BRCA gene, which is the breast cancer gene, she underwent a bilateral mastectomy. Fortunately, for her, the cancer was caught early and did not spread to other parts of her body. She has since been an active voice in the community, dedicating her time and voice to fight for all women’s access to MRIs and genetic testing as preventative measures.

Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow, the Grammy Award-winning musician, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. The singer beat the disease and has since embraced alternative methods of promoting a healthy body and mind. 

Kylie Minogue

The Australian pop star was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2005 at the age of 39. Minogue underwent surgery just four days after her diagnosis, followed by chemotherapy. She has been cancer-free ever since. 


Cynthia Nixon

Nixon was diagnosed in 2002, soon after Sex and the City ended. Her cancer was treated privately with a lumpectomy and radiation before announcing her diagnoses. She has since become an ambassador for breast cancer research, advising women to get mammograms early and without delay.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

The star of Seinfeld and Veep is the most recent Hollywood star to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Her diagnosis came in 2017 at the age of 56. She has always been an advocate for breast cancer awareness and healthy living, and continues to do so after her diagnosis. 

Olivia Newton-John

This award-winning singer and actress was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and underwent a partial mastectomy and chemotherapy. Newton-John has been cancer-free for more than 25 years, during which time she became an advocate of breast cancer awareness. This culminated in the building of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

Dame Maggie Smith

Dame Maggie Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 74 while filming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Despite her diagnosis, the English actress insisted on continuing filming, even through chemotherapy. After a clean bill of health, Smith went on to star in the final film of the series.

Suzanne Somers

American actress Suzanne Somers was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2001 and took a more holistic approach to her recovery. She famously declined traditional treatment and instead opted for Iscador, a medicine made from mistletoe extract, which she used daily for 10 years, and which she cites for her present health. She is now a motivational speaker and advocates for healthy living. 

Wanda Sykes

Comic actress Wanda Sykes was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2011 and opted for a double mastectomy to prevent reoccurrence in the future. Although a double mastectomy is not a 100% safeguard to breast cancer, it does reduce your chances by about 90%.

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates is a two-time cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003 and with stage 2 breast cancer in 2012. She underwent a double mastectomy but developed lymphedema, a swelling in the body’s extremities. She has since become a national spokeswoman for the Lymphatic Education and Research Network.