20 Celebrities Who Have Battled Breast Cancer

Liz Alterman | Oct 27, 2014 Healthy Living

Giuliana RancicFacing a breast cancer diagnosis is incredibly frightening. Many women who find themselves in that terrifying position have drawn strength from others who've stared down the disease and beaten it.

As we know, it doesn't discriminate. The illness impacts the rich and famous just as it affects typical moms and wives. But for some, knowing they're not alone is a comfort and inspiration along that difficult journey.

E! News host Giuliana Rancic (pictured above) is among a large number of celebrities who have battled breast cancer -- and survived. 

It is amazing how brave these women truly are. Take a look at our slideshow of celebrity breast cancer survivors and then tell us: Have you or someone you love faced this disease? 


Image © GettyImages/David Becker

  • Christina Applegate

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    KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/Reuters/Corbis

    At the age of 36, Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. The actress chose to go public with her battle to raise awareness of the disease that also impacted her mom, who had a mastectomy during the 1970s, Applegate told Oprah. 

  • Sheryl Crow

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    Image © GettyImages/BradBarket

    After battling breast cancer in 2006, the rock star announced earlier this year that she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Crow, who was once engaged to cancer survivor Lance Armstong, says breast cancer forced her to take stock of her life and "put down roots."

    Not only did she buy a farm close to her sister in Nashville, Tennessee, the musician adopted two children, who have also allowed her to re-prioritize. 

  • Robin Roberts

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    Image © GettyImages/RobKim

    The Good Morning America anchor has shared her journey with breast cancer and the blood and bone marrow disease known as myelodysplastic syndrome, which she was also diagnosed with in 2012. 

    Roberts credits her family and girlfriend of nine years, Amber Laign, with helping her recover. Her memoir, Everybody's Got Something, recounts the hard-won lessons she's learned along the way.

  • Cynthia Nixon

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    Image © GettyImages/Alberto E. Rodriguez

    While initially Cynthia Nixon chose to keep mum about her 2006 breast cancer diagnosis, which was caught during a routine mammogram, she shared her journey in 2008, and has since become an ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 

  • Joan Lunden

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    Image © Ruven Afanador/Corbis Outline

    Former Good Morning America host Joan Lunden was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple negative breast cancer in June. The mom of seven and grandmother of one told People she opted for chemotherapy first to shrink her two tumors, which could keep surgery and reconstruction less invasive and more minimal. 

  • Angelina Jolie

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    Image © GettyImages/KenIshil

    In 2013, Angelina Jolie (aka Mrs. Brad Pitt) underwent a double mastectomy after testing positive for breast cancer gene BRCA1, which can mean a woman faces a 4-in-5 chance of developing breast cancer and also increases her risk of ovarian cancer by 50 percent.

    The actress and mom of six watched her own mother battle ovarian cancer for a decade and chose to pursue the surgery out of fear of leaving her own kids behind. 

  • Melissa Etheridge

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    Image © GettyImages/NellsonBarnard

    Rock star Melissa Etheridge discovered a lump in her left breast during a summer concert tour in 2004. At the age of 43, the Grammy winner, who had a physical and breast exam just prior to making the discovery, returned to her Los Angeles doctor for a biopsy that confirmed she had breast cancer. 

    Etheridge credits her diagnosis with empowering her to say no to certain things and yes to others and she encourages all women to make themselves a priority.

    "You are the most important thing. You are no good to anyone else unless you are happy and well," the musician advises. 

  • Amber Marchese

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    Image via Amber N. Marchese/Facebook 

    Real Housewives of New Jersey's Amber Marchese has made no secret of the fact that her breast cancer diagnosis turned her world upside down, but says ultimately it made her a better wife and mother. 

    The survivor posed for an intimate photo shoot, which revealed her scars, and left husband Jim in tears when reflecting on all his wife has been through.

  • Kathy Bates

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    Image © GettyImages/KevinWinter

    Multi-talented actress Kathy Bates bravely battled breast cancer in 2012 after overcoming ovarian cancer in 2003. 

    At the age of 64, Bates underwent a double mastectomy but did not require chemotherapy or radiation. 

    "My family call me 'Kat' because I always land on my feet and thankfully this is no exception," the star joked to People

  • Hoda Kotb

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    Image © Brock Miller/Splash News/Corbis

    Even though Today show co-host Hoda Kotb's breast cancer required an extensive eight-hour surgery, which included a mastectomy and reconstruction, she said hearing that doctors had gotten it and that she was cancer-free made the harrowing operation worthwhile.

    Hoda shared her inspirational thoughts on loving her post-cancer body in an essay on Today's website. 

  • Olivia Newton-John

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    Image © GettyImages/Robert Cianflone

    Breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John opened a Cancer & Wellness Center at Austin Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The actress and singer was diagnosed in 1992 and has remained cancer-free following surgery and chemotherapy.

  • Wanda Sykes

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    Image © GettyImages/KrisConnor

    Comedian Wanda Sykes made the decision to have a bilateral mastectomy after she was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive form of breast cancer. During her recovery, the funny lady told People she didn't hide anything from her children because they were her inspiration.

    "I wanted to be around for them," she explained. 

  • Edie Falco

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    Image © Armando Gallo/Corbis

    In 2003, Emmy-winning actress Edie Falco discovered a lump in her breast, even after a mammogram revealed nothing. But if portraying mob matriarch Carmela Soprano taught the New Yorker anything, it's the value of being tough and persistent. 

    Cancer also inspired Falco to embrace life. Despite being single, she adopted a son and daughter. 

  • Judy Blume

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    Image © LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters/Corbis

    Prolific author Judy Blume shared her breast cancer diagnosis in a blog post and thanked her friends who'd also battled the disease with helping her recover in the aftermath of her mastectomy. Almost two decades prior, the beloved writer had a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with cervical cancer. 

  • Suzanne Somers

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    Image © GettyImages/Alberto E. Rodriguez

    Suzanne Somers was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Since that time, she has been an advocate of innovative and alternative cancer treatments, which she outlines in her book Knockout

  • Carly Simon

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    Image ©GettyImages/KevinWinter

    Singer-songwriter Carly Simon says battling breast cancer took "a huge toll" on her career and relationships. 

  • Nancy Reagan

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    Image ©GettyImages/Kevork Djansezian

    Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 following a routine mammogram. She underwent a mastectomy and inspired women across the country to get breast exams. 

  • Giuliana Rancic

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    Image © GettyImages/JasonKempin

    After multiple rounds of unsuccessful in vitro fertilization treatments, Giuliana Rancic was asked by doctors to undergo a mammogram, which detected a lump. Rancic underwent a double mastectomy and credited the love and support of her family with helping her through that difficult journey. 

  • Jaclyn Smith

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    Image © GettyImages/JasonKempin

    Former Charlie's Angels star Jaclyn Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 and was featured in the documentary 1 in a Minute about the disease in 2010 alongside Olivia Newton-John.

  • Kylie Minogue

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    Image ©GettyImages/AnthonyHarper

    Australian singer-songwriter Kylie Minogue learned she had breast cancer in 2005 when she was only 36. Her openness about her battle caused other young women to seek regular exams themselves. 

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