I’m A Survivor! Celebs Who Had A Cancer Scare
By now we know that cancer doesn’t discriminate by age, race, gender, sexuality, or class. You’d be hard pressed to find a person on this earth who doesn’t know someone who has either survived or succumbed to the disease or been diagnosed with some form themselves, and celebrities are no different. Here are 14 who’ve earned the title of survivor after overcoming a bout with cancer.
Michael C. Hall
Actor Michael C. Hall has tried his best to live a private life. He secretly wed second wife and “Dexter” co-star Jennifer Carpenter and it took them over a year to make an appearance together as a married couple. Hall further had heads scratching after he accepted a Golden Globe award in 2010 wearing a knit cap until his agent confirmed Hall was undergoing treatment for a treatable form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A few months later it was announced he was fully cured of the disease. In 2011, the “Six Feet Under” star became celebrity spokesperson for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night Walk” fundraising campaign.
Actor Michael Douglas has made it his life’s mission to win the battle against throat cancer. The Oscar winner was diagnosed with stage four cancer back in 2010 and underwent eight weeks of radiation before appearing on “Late Night with David Letterman.” Douglas continued his treatment after the appearance and was seen around New York City looking extremely thin. Douglas attributed the disease to years of stress, heavy drinking and smoking and later explained he lost over 30 lbs while undergoing treatment. Most recently, Douglas portrayed Liberace in HBO’s Behind the Candelabra.
Talk show host and wife of rocker Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne had a preventative double mastectomy in 2012 after finding out she carried the BRCA1 gene. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the former reality show star’s first brush with cancer. In 2002, Osbourne underwent surgery for colon cancer. After overcoming the disease with a 33% chance of survival rate, Osbourne is not taking having the gene lightly. “I’ve had cancer before and I didn’t want to live under that cloud,” she told Hello! Magazine of her decision to have the preventative surgery.
Famed author Judy Blume has penned some of the most beloved children and young adult stories and has sold over 80 million books. In September of 2012, Blume announced on her website that she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer. Blume chose a single mastectomy and reconstructive surgery as a course of action and wrote about how she came to that decision on her site: “A yenta with a sense of humor said, ‘Honey… take them both off and get yourself a matched pair,’ ” Blume wrote. “She wasn’t the only one who recommended that. And I admit, sometimes I think I should have.”
For a decade, actress Christina Applegate played sexpot Kelly Bundy on the hit sitcom “Married… with Children.” In 2008, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and opted to have both breasts removed even though the disease was contained to one breast. The Anchorman star spoke candidly about her newly constructed breasts: “If you have boobs you don’t like, you can go and choose the size you want, and then get a brand-new present. But it’s different [when it’s not your choice]. And they feel really weird. There’s a numbness–my back is still numb. Even exercising feels strange. It’ll take two years [for the sensation] to come back. But I hold on to the fact that I don’t have to wear a bra, which is great!”
TV host Giuliana Rancic desperately wanted to become a mother and that yearning may have saved her life. Rancic didn’t want to have a mammogram as part of the infertility treatments but her doctor insisted. Test results showed the “E! News” co-anchor was in the beginning stages of breast cancer. Rancic underwent a double mastectomy. Six months later she and her husband Bill announced that they were expecting their first child via surrogacy. The happy couple welcomed son Edward Duke in August of 2012.
In 2005, Australian singer Kylie Minogue was in the middle of a world tour when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Realizing that her health was the utmost priority, a few days later Minogue underwent surgery and radiation in Melbourne, Australia. Deciding to use her star power to shed a light on the disease, her first public appearance after the surgery was a visit to the children’s cancer ward at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. “Everyone’s story is different. It depends what the cancer was, how it affected you, the treatment you had. There are so many variables but for a lot of people, myself included, it’s not like it happened, it was dealt with and it stops,” Minogue said in an interview in 2010. “I have reminders of it every day so it definitely affects my life in a small part, so you just have to adapt and do things slightly differently… just deal with it and move on.”
Former supermodel Angie Everhart recently revealed that she is battling thyroid cancer. In an effort to get ahead of the rumors that were circulating about her health, the 43-year-old Sports Illustrated model’s rep spoke to “Extra,” saying: “She wants to set the record straight by letting everyone know that it is true that she has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, however, the prognosis is very good.” The rep added that Everhart is scheduled to undergo surgery “and expects to be back to work and to mommy duties in a few weeks.”
Actress Valerie Harper battled and beat lung cancer back in 2009. The “Rhoda” actress recently revealed to People magazine that the cancer is back, this time in her brain. The 73-year-old’s chances of survival are slim; she was diagnosed with eptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain and was told by doctors she may only have a few months to live. “I don’t think of dying,” she said. “I think of being here now.”
Comedian Wanda Sykes is known for her dry sense of humor but it was no laughing matter in 2011 when the funny lady revealed on “Ellen” that she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in the year. Although ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive “stage zero breast cancer,” 49-year-old Sykes elected to have a bilateral mastectomy in order to remove her chances of getting breast cancer. Now cancer-free, Sykes has a pair of twins with wife Alex.
False rumors quickly circulated when actress Melanie Griffith was photographed with a black eye in December of 2009. Many speculated that the bruise surrounding her right eye was a result of some type of plastic surgery but her rep revealed that the Mulholland Falls actress had surgery to remove some early signs of skin cancer from her face resulting in the black eye. The procedure was reportedly performed early enough that future complications should be prevented. Griffith has since been given a clean bill of health.
Robert De Niro
Actor Robert De Niro was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 60. Back in 2003, the New York native was busy filming the move “Hide and Seek” when he found out about the potentially grave news. “Doctors say the condition was detected at an early stage because of regular check-ups,” his publicist Stan Rosenfield said. “Because of the early detection and his excellent physical condition, doctors project a full recovery.” The notoriously private actor underwent treatment immediately and has since made a full recovery.
Before he became one of the most hated men in sports, Lance Armstrong was a symbol of overcoming adversity. The seven-time Tour de France winner had a very public battle with testicular cancer. Armstrong started the Livestrong Foundation to support people with cancer. The organization began selling the bright yellow wristbands that soon became synonymous with the battle against cancer. Despite his best efforts to keep the allegations of doping just that, Armstrong was forced to come clean about his cheating ways and was soon stripped of his titles. Ironically, it has been speculated that Armstrong’s doping is what caused the testicular cancer in the first place.
In February of 2006, shortly after she ended her relationship with cancer survivor and cyclist Lance Armstrong, country singer Sheryl Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was given a clean bill of health after a lumpectomy and radiation treatment. Crow had another cancer scare six years later. After forgetting the lyrics to a song, Crow paid a visit to her doctor where an MRI revealed a tumor in her brain. Crow gave an update of her health on her Facebook page, assuring fans that they she was fine. “Please don’t worry about my ‘brain tumor,’ ” she posted, “Tt’s a non-cancerous growth. I know some folks can have problems with this kind of thing, but I want to assure everyone I’m OK.”
TV personality Hoda Kotb’s scare with breast cancer was a blessing in disguise. Her gynecologist detected a mass after a routine breast exam and Kotb underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery soon after. Kotb says after coming though such a scary and frightening experience, she was a stronger person — so much so she had the courage to ask her boss for her dream job! Kotb summoned the courage to approach NBC president Jeff Zucker about an opening at the “Today” show. Soon after she was named co-host of the fourth hour of the show. “I promise you if I hadn’t have gotten sick, I don’t think I would have had the guts to ask or the confidence,” said Kotb. “So they say, stronger in the broken places, I believe it.”