At some point in her life, one out of every eight women will develop breast cancer. Breast cancer affects women from all walks of life, from yourself or your loved ones to some of the most well-known celebrities in TV, film and music. Of course, circumstances matter when it comes to cancer outcomes, and this is one reason why these three strong and outspoken celebrities have stepped up to share a clear message of love, support and inspiration for women affected by breast cancer.
Angelina Jolie’s empowering message
Known for her beauty, classic style and minimalist jewelry alongside her illustrious film career, Angelina Jolie has also made an impact in the national and international conversation about breast cancer. With a strong family history of breast cancer, Jolie opted for genetic testing to learn whether she had the BRCA1 mutation that made her more likely to develop cancer during her life.
When she tested positive for the mutation, she elected to undergo a double mastectomy in her thirties, even though no cancer had been found in either breast. She chose the surgery in 2013 as a preventative approach, reducing her risk of developing breast cancer from 87% to around 5%. Many women may hesitate to opt for preventative surgery, but it may be an option for women like Jolie with a very high likelihood of developing cancer later on.
When she speaks about her own experience, she emphasizes the power of knowledge and choice. “I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity,” Jolie says.
Surviving with Christina Applegate
Like Jolie, Christina Applegate also had a long family history of breast cancer; her mother developed the cancer twice, once in her thirties and again two decades later. Applegate became a nationally known actress as a teenager before moving on to star in musicals and feature films and then becoming a breast cancer survivor by the time she was 35.
Because of her family history, she opted for frequent cancer screenings and an early detection plan when she turned 30. Because of this screening plan, her cancer was found early on. With breast cancer, like other cancers, early diagnosis means an easier course of treatment.
After her breast cancer survival, she opted for genetic testing for the BRCA1 mutation. Like Jolie, she tested positive; with her knowledge of her mother’s cancer returning, she opted for a double mastectomy even though her cancer was localized to one breast in order to reduce her risk of recurrence.
“We need to know as people going through this that you’re not alone,” Applegate says, noting that one of the most important parts of her survival story was sharing her experience with other women with breast cancer.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus speaks out
The actress, comedian and star of TV shows like Veep and Seinfeld was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2017. Like Applegate, she noted that sharing her story and receiving support from others was key to her battle against cancer and her recovery after a double mastectomy.
She spoke out about her experience on social media and received warm and supportive messages from other celebrities, directors and even politicians, and she used her platform to highlight health care needs for those less fortunate. “Not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality,” Louis-Dreyfus said on Twitter.
Breast cancer can affect everyone, and these celebrities have not hesitated to use their platforms to share their breast cancer experiences and advocate for treatment, research and mutual support for all women in the battle against cancer.