Celebs Who Fought Breast Cancer and Won!

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By: KATHY MEGYERI

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. These six celebrities, among others, have fought the cancer battle and are now using their star status to raise awareness, advocate for early detection, and plea for better treatments and recovery options.

Their endurance, courage, and forthrightness are inspirational. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and we hope their messages motivate you to get your annual mammogram, pay attention to your body, and seek medical help when something seems amiss.
Rita Wilson
Wilson, 62, is an actress, writer, singer, songwriter and producer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma Mia! In 2015, at age 58, she underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for invasive lobular carcinoma.
Now cancer free, she says she was blessed to have caught her disease early, to have had excellent doctors, and to have pursued a second opinion, thanks to the urging from a friend. “Early diagnosis is the key,” she told People magazine.
Among a variety of philanthropic efforts, she and husband Tom Hanks are co-chairs of the Women’s Cancer Research Fund which raises funds to combat women’s cancers.
Kathy Bates
Bates, 71, an actress and director, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003 and breast cancer in 2012. She underwent a double mastectomy which resulted in lymphedema in both arms. She became an advocate for funding of lymphedema and lymphatic diseases and was awarded the 2018 WebMD Health Heroes “Game Changer” Award for her activism.
She told People magazine that her aunt, mother and niece all had the disease. Ironically, she tested negative for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutation that increases a woman’s risk of breast and ovarian
cancer.
“A negative BRCA result is not a get out of jail free card,” she said.
Peter Criss
Criss, the 73-year-old drummer and a founding
member of the band Kiss, shed light on the fact that men (even heavy metal rockers) can get breast cancer when he announced in 2008 that he had the disease. “It scared the pants off me,” he told Fox News.
He found a lump in his chest at age 62 and was
successfully treated with a lumpectomy and later, a mastectomy. He gets regular mammograms (although we aren’t sure how that works) and continues to raise
awareness about breast cancer in men.
More than 2,000 new cases of male breast cancer are expected each year in the U.S.; over 400 men die from the disease annually, often because they wait too long to seek help.
Hoda Kotb
Kotb, 55, the co-anchor on NBC’s Today, was diagnosed at age 43 after breast lumps were discovered during a routine exam. She had a mastectomy and reconstruction followed by five years of tamoxifen therapy.
Her autobiography, Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee was a New York Times bestseller. Probably most inspiring was
that she allowed Today show cameras throughout her cancer battle to document the journey.
She told Today viewers, “Cancer shaped me, but did
not define me.”
Robin Roberts
Roberts, the 58-year-old anchor of ABC’s Good
Morning America, found a lump during a self-exam that was diagnosed as triple-negative breast cancer; she was 46 at the time.
“Because I was familiar with my body and the
lumps, I knew this one felt different,” she tells
women. “It was hard and in a different place on my breast. If I hadn’t been doing self-exams, I wouldn’t have known that.”
The TV host underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation but faced another condition in 2012: myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease of the bone marrow thought to be the result of the radiation.
Roberts has received accolades for allowing
her network to document and build an awareness campaign around her battle with this rare disease. Still, she urges others not to discount radiation treatments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Joan Lunden
Lunden, 69, a former co host of ABC’s Good
Morning America and author of eight books, was diagnosed in 2014 with triple-negative breast cancer—the three most common types of receptors known to fuel most breast cancer growth (estrogen, progesterone, and the HER2/neu gene) were not present in her cancer tumor. It was found when her doctor ordered additional screening because of her dense fibrous breast tissue.
As she told NBC’s Today show, “I walked out of
that mammogram with a clean bill of health, only to discover in my ultrasound that I had an aggressive form of breast cancer.” Today, she is cancer free and travels the country speaking to health organizations and raising awareness about the disease.
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