Cancer is a sensitive topic and puts the affected person in a vulnerable position where privacy is essential. But what about people whose lives are on display to the public at seemingly every turn?
There have been many celebrities that have come forward and told their story of battling cancer, how they survived and life after the disease was cured. Some have taken the opportunity to raise awareness about the disease and prompt their fans to visit their doctors and be vigilant about the first signs of cancer. Others prefer to keep their battle secret, parting with limited details.
Here is a list of 8 famous celebrities with cancer:
1. Olivia Newton-John (Breast Cancer)
Australian singer-songwriter, Olivia Newton-John, went public with her cancer diagnosis in September 2018. It was found in the base of her spine, presenting the third cancer diagnosis she has received. Previously, she announced a breast cancer diagnosis in 1992 and another breast cancer case in 2013 that had spread to her shoulder.
In light of her experience with cancer, she has become a strong advocate in raising awareness around cancer and funds cancer research initiatives. There is even an Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia that the Grease actress raised funds for in 2008.
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2. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Breast Cancer)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus announced her battle with breast cancer the day after she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in September 2017. A year later with multiple sessions of chemotherapy, the Seinfeld actress appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to announce that she was cancer-free.
Louis-Dreyfus stresses the importance of raising awareness about the disease in her post-cancer life and prompts women everywhere to be properly tested.
3. Larry King (Lung Cancer)
The former CNN host announced his stage 1 lung cancer diagnosis in September 2017 after undergoing a successful surgery to remove the upper lobe and lymph node from his lungs.
Because the 85-year-old broadcaster received a chest examination in time, the cancer never escalated past stage 1 and the surgery was a success. Larry King plans on undergoing examinations more often to prevent and treat health issues as they happen.
4. Michael Douglas (Throat Cancer)
In August 2010, actor and producer Michael Douglas first announced that he had throat cancer. It was clarified that the actor was actually diagnosed with stage IV tongue cancer – the most advanced stage of the disease. Douglas underwent chemotherapy and radiation shortly after.
By January 2011, the tumor had been removed though the treatment had him shed 32 pounds and left him weak, prompting more screenings and recovery time. By June 2013, the actor linked tongue cancer to HPV, a claim that caused controversy when the media ran with the story. Michael Douglas is currently cancer-free and was able to resume his career in Hollywood.
5. Amy Robach (Breast Cancer)
Amy Robach discovered that she had breast cancer during an on-air ABC News segment about breast cancer awareness in October 2013. Because of the invasive nature of this diagnosis, Robach opted to go for a double masectomy.
She has spoken about her journey at length, especially in her book Better: How I Let Go of Control, Held On to Hope, and Found Joy in My Darkest Hour. Since her recovery, she has been a voice for cancer awareness and encourages women everywhere to receive a mammogram.
6. Kathy Bates (Breast Cancer)
The Misery star is not a stranger to battling cancer. In 2003, Kathy Bates managed to overcome ovarian cancer. By 2012, she took to Twitter and announced that she was diagnosed with breast cancer two months earlier. As well, in 2014 came the announcement that she was suffering from lymphedema (a retention of fluid in the body that results from complications derived from cancer treatments) in both of her arms.
Last year, she made a stand with advocates on Capitol Hill to call for more support surrounding cancer research so that a proper treatment may be found and that people did not have to be afflicted with these diseases any longer.
7. Hugh Jackman (Skin Cancer)
Hugh Jackman took to Instagram to warn fans about the perils of not wearing sunscreen and keeping your skin safe from UV radiation. This viral post came along with an image of the Australian actor wearing bandages across his nose, explaining that it was from basal cell carcinoma treatment dating back to 2017.
Jackman has reportedly been treated for this common (though rarely fatal) form of cancer at least four times, the first likely being in 2013.
8. Ben Stiller (Prostate Cancer)
Prostate cancer severely affects men across the world. The American Cancer Society projects that about 174,650 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed, leading to about 31,620 deaths. When comedic actor Ben Stiller announced his battle with prostate cancer in June 2014, it was no laughing matter.
While he experienced no defining symptoms, his case was diagnosed through the controversial prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Stiller considers himself fortunate that the treatment for the disease required little more than an operation and subsequent check-ups. He recommends that people have these open conversations about testing and treatments with their doctors.