5 Celebrities Who Have Changed the Face of Breast Cancer

sheryl crowSheryl CrowThe sad truth is breast cancer is one pervasive disease. I won't bore you with all the facts, but it is the most common form of cancer in women, and about 39,520 females die each year from it.

Luckily, it's getting more curable, though. Between the tons of research, early detection (crucial!), and raised awareness, more and more women are coming out the other end as survivors.

Of course we have amazing doctors, scientists, and rich people who donate their cash to the cause to thank for this, but we also have ... celebrities. With their help -- and bravery -- they've made breast cancer awareness more universal than ever.

Here are five celebrities who have changed the face of breast cancer. Thanks, gals.

Sheryl Crow. Probably the most famous face of breast cancer, in 2006, Crow said, "I am a walking advertisement for early detection." After finding out about her diagnosis, Sheryl immediately postponed her tour, went into surgery, and had seven weeks of radiation supplemented with acupuncture and herbal teas. Thanks to catching it so early, she was able to skip chemotherapy. In March 2007, Crow petitioned Congress to fund research into possible links between breast cancer and environmental factors.

Christina Applegate. After being diagnosed at the young age of 36, Applegate decided to have both breasts removed, even though the cancer was only in one. After shocking the world -- and kicking cancer's ass -- Christina started Right Action for Women, a foundation that provides aid to individuals who are at an increased risk for the disease, but are without insurance or the financial flexibility to cover the high costs associated with breast screenings.

Melissa Etheridge. In 2007, the rocker found a lump in her breast while giving herself a routine self-exam in the shower. After a rigorous round of chemotherapy and radiation, followed by a lumpectomy, Etheridge famously performed bald at the 2005 Grammys. Her song "I Run for Life" was also inspired by her battle.

Kylie Minogue. Also diagnosed at the young age of 36, the Australian pop star almost didn't get a chance to battle -- and defeat -- the disease. Originally, she received a misdiagnosis. After going with her gut that something just wasn't right, she went in for a second opinion, and doctors found a lump in her left breast. Urging other women to do the same, she famously told Ellen DeGeneres in 2007, "Just because someone is in a white coat and using big medical instruments doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right."

Cynthia Nixon. The Sex and the City star kept her breast cancer diagnosis a secret at first. She didn't want "paparazzi showing up at the hospital." Rightfully so. After beating the disease -- and realizing that her celeb status could make a difference -- Nixon became an ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

These ladies really have made a dent in the world of breast cancer. They've raised awareness, funds, research, and even started foundations. But most importantly, they beat it, and they serve as an inspiration to women everywhere.

How inspiring are these ladies?

 

Image via Symbiosis/Flickr