While no one wants to hear of other people being stricken with cancer, celebrities with breast cancer often use their illness to help make people more aware of the risks of breast cancer as well as give others with the disease hope that they can get it as well .
Edie Falco, star of both HBO shows "The Sopranos" and "OZ" was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was a young 40 years old, in 2003. She did not tell people at first, but instead secretly went into treatment. She did not reveal her cancer until after she declared cancer free, but after that talked about openly. She was only secretive because she did not want to be asked constantly how she was feeling and if she was all right.
Jaclyn Smith who everyone knows as Kelly Garret, one of "Charlie's Angels" from the same-named TV show of the 1970s, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 56 years old in 2002. Most cases of breast cancer occur in women who are 55 years or older. Jaclyn was treated with a lumpectomy and radiation, because the disease was used early during a routine self-exam. She works with groups like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and talks publicly about early detection and breast cancer risks.
Christina Applegate is one of the youngest and most vocal celebrities with breast cancer. She was diagnosed in 2008 when she was only 36 years old. The former star of "Married with Children" was filming her new successful hit show "Samantha Who?" when she was diagnosed. She tested positive for a gene mutation that greatly increases the risk of breast cancer. And because her mother had also been diagnosed with breast cancer more than once, making heredity just one more risk factor for the young woman, she opted to not just have the breast with the cancer removed, but to have both removed. This double mastectomy was a preventative measure to stave off any future cancer. Applegate speaks out for the available MRI testing for women of all income levels, because it was this test that detected her cancer early and has probably saved her life by reducing her risk of the cancer spreading or recycling.
Rocker Melissa Etheridge is one of the most recognizable celebrities with breast cancer. She was diagnosed at age 43 in 2004. She had a lumpectomy, which removes only the lump, and then an aggressive course of chemotherapy to help prevent spread and recurrence. She caught the cancer while giving herself a self-exam in the shower, and made a performance in 2005 at the Grammy awards while bald, after having lost her hair to the chemotherapy. Many people in her family died of cancer, so she is now an outspoken advocacy of prevention and research.
Rocker Sheryl Crow is also one of the most well known celebrities with cancer. She was diagnosed at 44 in 2006, and is outspoken about early detection. Surgery and radiation were her treatments, with no chemo because the cancer was treated in the very early stages.