As we have seen recently with the viral “Ice Bucket Challenge” benefitting the ALS Association, celebrities can harness their star power to bring awareness to important causes. As our team of breast reconstruction surgeons in Albany gears up for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), we’d like to highlight 5 times when celebrities helped raise awareness with their own personal battles against the deadly disease or the threat of it.
Angelina Jolie-Pitt: It has been more than a year since the actress wrote an op-ed in The New York Times revealing her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. She shared her story in hopes that it would raise awareness of the BRCA1 gene, which she possesses and which can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing breast cancer. Of breast reconstruction, Jolie-Pitt said, “There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.”
Christine Applegate: In 2008, the actress was diagnosed with breast cancer. She took her personal battle public in order to shine a light on the disease. Applegate decided to have a bilateral mastectomy when faced with the alternative of radiation treatments and then testing for life.
Wanda Sykes: The actress and comic learned she had early stage breast cancer while seeking a breast reduction in 2011. Sykes decided to have a double mastectomy to greatly reduce her risk of having breast cancer. She shared her story on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Olivia Newton-John: The Grease actress received a breast cancer diagnosis back in 1992. She underwent treatment, including chemotherapy and mastectomy, for nearly a year. Newton-John told the Susan G. Komen foundation, “Some say, ‘Oh, you’re in remission,’ but I answer, ‘No, this is over and done. It’s behind me.'”
Sheryl Crow: The Grammy-winning singer/songwriter has worked to raise awareness of the importance of regular mammograms since her breast cancer diagnosis in 2006 and subsequent surgery and radiation treatment. Crow’s diagnosis came despite no family history of the disease.
While it’s true that star-power can be harnessed for good causes like breast cancer awareness, our own personal heroes truly inspire us every day. They’re our daughters, mothers, grandmothers, educators, and neighbors.
Do you know someone who bravely stood up against breast cancer? October is a great time to honor and celebrate that person. And don’t forget to do a breast self-exam and encourage friends and family to do the same this month! We are all in this together.