When it comes to a diagnosis of breast cancer, one of the first questions one asks is, why me? Cancer, however, makes no distinction. It hits the rich and the poor. The young and the old. The unknown and the famous. During this National Breast Cancer Awareness Month we are taking a look at four celebrities who have battled breast cancer.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus Diagnosed at 56
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was diagnosed one day after receiving the 2017 Emmy award for best actress in a comedy series. Ten days after the Emmy Awards, the star of Seinfeld and Veep tweeted, “1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one.” Julia also used her Twitter platform to encourage an improvement in our healthcare system. “The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal healthcare a reality.”
Her treatment included surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Louis-Dreyfus famously posted a photo of herself after surgery with a short and powerful message to cancer. “Hoorah! Great doctors, great results, feeling happy and ready to rock after surgery. Hey cancer, F**k you!” Shortly after, she returned to filming new episodes of Veep for HBO.
Later, when interviewed by InStyle, she was more contemplative. “I’ve come out the other side of this, and I’m still not exactly sure how to define the difference other than to say I’m grateful, of course, but it’s more than that. It’s bigger.”
Hoda Kotb Diagnosed at 43
Despite being a Today Show co-host (a show that often deals with women’s health issues) and hosting a syndicated show titled Your Total Health, at 43 Hoda Kotb had never had a mammogram. With no family history of cancer, Kotb had no reason to worry when she went to her gynecologist for a routine checkup. Luckily, during that routine exam her doctor noticed lumps in Kotb’s breasts. Even after her doctor found the lump Kotb was not too worried about the lump. She was shocked when her doctor called her on the phone to tell her she had cancer. Despite the shock, she kicked into gear immediately and consulted with several doctors before finally choosing one and beginning treatment. After a mastectomy, five years of hormone therapy, and reconstructive surgery, Hoda is now cancer free.
Unfortunately, the treatment left her unable to become pregnant and give birth. Undeterred, Kotb adopted a beautiful baby girl in 2017. Her name is Haley Joy. Reflecting on cancer, Kotb chooses to focus on the positive. “Cancer survivors are blessed with two lives. There is your life before cancer, and your life after. I am here to tell you your second life is going to be so much better than the first.”
Giuliana Rancic diagnosed at 37
We all watched while Giuliana and Bill Rancic went through in vitro fertilization. We all hoped a baby was in their future. And we were all shocked when we found out that instead of a baby, Giuliana was carrying a tumor. As part of the process of IVF, her doctor ordered a mammogram. That mammogram found an early-stage tumor. The couple opted for a lumpectomy but that procedure failed to get rid of the cancer cells. After endless hours of weighing the pros and cons they opted for a double mastectomy to try to eradicate the disease.
Undeterred, the couple went on to have a son with the help of a surrogate and also launched Fab-U-Wish, an organization that grants beauty, fashion, and celebrity themed wishes to women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Rancic admits to being stunned at the diagnosis but also quickly went to work educating herself on breast cancer treatments.She told SHAPE magazine, “As traumatized as you may feel, it’s up to you to go to your medical professional prepared with questions—the right questions regarding the exact type of breast cancer you have. The more informed you are, the more likely you’ll be able to work with your doctors to find proper, tailored treatment.”
Sheryl Crow diagnosed at 44
Perhaps best known for her music and her former romantic relationship with Lance Armstrong, Sheryl Crow is now using her celebrity to emphasize the importance of early detection of breast cancer. With no family history of breast cancer, Crow was stunned when a routine mammogram identified suspicious calcifications in both of her breasts. “Someone like me shouldn’t be diagnosed with breast cancer, that’s what was going through my mind. I wasn’t thinking about a diagnosis. I was just doing what I was supposed to do, which was staying on top of my mammograms. It was a shock.” She immediately postponed an upcoming tour, had a lumpectomy, and then seven weeks of radiation. Since then, she has been cancer free.
Crow is now passionate about spreading the word about the importance of self exams and mammograms. “I am a walking advertisement for early detection.”
All four women now use use their fame as a platform to help encourage other women to be proactive when it comes to their health. The key to beating breast cancer is early detection for anyone and YOU are in charge of that.
Also be sure to check out our list of America’s best Breast Centers here: https://www.womenschoiceaward.com/awarded/best-hospitals/breast-centers/