Everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer, but news of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ diagnosis and chemotherapy treatments has brought widespread public attention to the issue at hand. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and to spread awareness about mammograms and breast cancer, we’re sharing the stories of seven famous actresses who have battled breast cancer and won.
1. Olivia Newton-John
The star of Grease was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and is now cancer-free. Newton-John said, “My cancer scare changed my life. I’m grateful for every new, healthy day I have. It has helped me prioritize my life.” She’s a movie musical icon.
2. Cynthia Nixon
This Sex and the City star is definitely a Miranda and an amazing breast cancer survivor. After her 2008 diagnosis, Nixon has been an advocate for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and was their official spokeswoman. “I want them [women] most to hear me saying that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. So the only thing to really be afraid of is if you don’t go get your mammograms, because there’s some part of you that doesn’t want to know, and that’s the thing that’s going to trip you up. That’s the thing that could have a really bad endgame.”
3. Jane Fonda
This 9 to 5 star and most recently the star of Grace and Frankie was diagnosed only eight years ago and has already survived breast cancer. Fonda wrote on her blog, “I had a scare with a non-invasive breast cancer but it is ALL OUT NOW!!!” The daughter of famous actor, Henry Fonda, is now 80 years old and still acting.
4. Christina Applegate
Applegate started out as teenage actress in Married with Children and later went on to star in the iconic Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. From her health scare in 2008 she stated, “Don’t sweat the small stuff — not even the big stuff. At the end of the day, none of it matters but your own joy, your own spiritual journey that you go on, God, your loved ones, your friends, your animals. These are the things you’ve got to cherish and love and embrace.” Since then she has continued to make fans laugh; recently she starred as the antagonist in Bad Moms.
5. Wanda Sykes
This hilarious comedian and actress is also a breast cancer survivor. She is most notable for her role in Evan Almighty and several animated films and shows. Sykes had a humorous take on discovering her condition, “I was like I don’t know, should I talk about it or what. How many things could I have? I’m black, then lesbian. I can’t be the poster child for everything.”
6. Kathy Bates
This Oscar and Emmy winner and Tony nominated actress has appeared in many famous films. She has appeared in Titanic and Misery, and most recently she is on the television show American Horror Story. After beating ovarian cancer in 2003, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. After beating breast cancer, Bates stated, “I’m just grateful to have been born at a time when the research made it possible for me to survive. I feel so incredibly lucky to be alive”.
7. Dame Maggie Smith
Dame Maggie Smith is most notable for her role as Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter series and Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey. This actress is a true breast cancer fighter. At 74, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and continued to film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince all while going through radiotherapy treatment. “The last couple of years have been a write-off, though I’m beginning to feel like a person now. My energy is coming back. Sh*t happens. I ought to pull myself together a bit,” Smith said after recovery.
All of these women are strong, powerful and beautiful survivors. They kicked cancer’s ass and lived to do the job they love. Acting is hard work physically and emotionally, but all of these women have continued to work and entertain even after their diagnosis. I applaud these women for their hard work. Hopefully, their famous survival stories inspire other women to fight through breast cancer, too.