7 Celebrities Who Haven't Let Breast Cancer Stop Them From Achieving Amazing Things

by Julia Guerra
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A handful of national holidays sprinkle our calendars every year (National Donut day, National Taco Day, etc.), and even though a decent chunk are silly little celebrations that got their start on social media, there are a few key national causes that deserve to be celebrated in the name of bringing awareness to very real, life-threatening diseases. For example, the American Cancer Society founded October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985 to raise awareness about a disease that affects so many women across the world. The fight is a brutal one, but breast cancer is treatable and beatable, and for those suffering, it's important to know there are so many celebrities with breast cancer who strive to live their lives to the absolute fullest in order to prove to others that there is beauty in the battle.

Celebrities may not be the superhuman ideals mainstream media would like to paint them as, but they certainly are role models with a significantly large platform that allows them to inspire others beyond the big screen. One in eight women born in the U.S. will develop breast cancer, and while the diagnosis can definitely be challenging, and it can feel as though you're alone in your struggle, these fierce female celebrities are here to show that you are never alone. Keeping the faith and holding on to your strengths are what can guide you through each and every battle.

Each of the following women have their fair share of scars, but have found beauty and grace through their struggles with breast cancer. You can overcome the disease, and these women are proof that you can, and will, prevail.

Christina Applegate

Normally, Bad Moms actress Christina Applegate is all laughs, but when it comes to raising awareness for breast cancer, this comedian is seriously committed to her cause.

In 2008, Applegate's doctor suggested further testing beyond her regularly scheduled mammogram after noticing one of her breasts was too dense. She was diagnosed as a carrier of the BRCA gene, which basically means her body is more susceptible to developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Though she was lucky enough to pay her medical bills, the actress recognized that most insurance companies do not cover breast cancer testing. To lend a helping hand, she launched the Right Action for Women organization, which helps provide financial assistance for women at risk.

She told Elle,

It's incredible what's happened in the last six years since I've had [breast cancer]; what they've been able to do surgery-wise. My situation was very different.
Things have definitely changed. I've seen [breast implants] on some girls recently where I'm like, 'Those are the best looking boobs I've seen. That's incredible.' So it can be a positive thing, if it has to be. You can get better boobs than you had before, if you so choose.
Robin Roberts
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Good Morning America host Robin Roberts has a lot of accomplishments under her belt, with a few dynamic career highlights that include getting her start as a television sports reporter on Sports Center, having gotten the chance to sit down and interview influential women like Hillary Clinton, and being honored at the 2013 Espy Awards.

Unfortunately, her battle with breast cancer was no small feat. She had been diagnosed with the disease in 2007 and had contracted a rare blood disorder from chemotherapy complications that led to her leave of absence from GMA in 2011.

She told Prevention,

I found my lump in a self-exam! Because I was familiar with my body and the lumps, I knew this one felt different.
It was in a different place on my breast, and it was hard. If I hadn't been doing self-exams, I wouldn't have known that.
Judy Blume
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Judy Blume filled the millennial's childhood book shelf with classic stories like Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Are You There God, It's Me Margaret, Just As Long As We're Together, and Forever. I always envisioned Judy Blume as invincible, but unfortunately, even our favorite authors, whose voices live in the pages of these incredible novels, are not immune to the disease.

Blue shared her breast cancer diagnosis in a blog post in Sept. 2012, stating,

I'm part of this Sisterhood of the Traveling Breast Cells (apologies to Ann Brashares).
Medical diagnoses can leave you feeling alone and scared. When it comes to breast cancer you're not alone, and scary though it is, there's a network of amazing women to help you through it.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has had quite the successful year, breaking the record for most Emmys won by a performer for a single role, in addition to receiving her sixth consecutive win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

It was heartbreaking to learn the actress was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, but the way she decided to reveal her diagnosis to the world was nothing short of amazing. She took to social media to announce her diagnosis, posting a note to her Instagram account stating,

One in eight women get breast cancer. Today, I'm the one.
The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let's fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality.
Giuliana Rancic
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If you were a fan of Giuliana and Bill's reality series (I personally could not get enough of those two), you were there to witness the hardships of breast cancer alongside Giuliana's documented struggles.

It's been six years since Rancic publicly announced on the TODAY show that, at the age of 36, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would be undergoing a double mastectomy.

She kick-started her own initiative called Fab-U-Wish that supports women undergoing treatment for breast cancer by offering them financial grants. This year, Alba Botanica is sponsoring her cause, as well as The Ping Agenda, to further assist patients in need:

By partnering with FAB-U-WISH and The Pink Agenda, Alba Botanica® brand is helping women currently facing breast cancer feel special – and feel better – during their most difficult times, Giuliana said in a press release.
We're proud to be working alongside Alba Botanica® to support our ultimate wish of finding a cure.
Wanda Sykes
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Healthline reports that Wanda Sykes was diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer following a breast reduction in 2011.

Despite her case being low-risk, she agreed to a double mastectomy as a precautionary measure to make absolutely sure she wouldn't receive a more serious diagnosis in the future.

She told People,

I made my decision because I love life and I know I’m blessed. The kids are also a huge part because you want to be around for them.
My scars? I barely see them. I feel whole; I really do. Because every day, I get to say, 'There’s no cancer.' I’m healthy, and that’s beautiful.
Maggie Smith
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Maggie Smith, who you might recognize as the cunning Professor McGonagall, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. She was 74 years old at the time.

You'd never know it from watching the film, but Smith was apparently going through extensive chemotherapy treatments while simultaneously filming Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. Though she admits the experience left her questioning whether or not she would continue with theater, she went on to film The Deathly Hallows, and starred in BBC's Downton Abbey.

After undergoing chemo and powering through filming like an absolute boss, she told The Telegraph,

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. S*** happens. I ought to pull myself together a bit.