Celebrities Who Kicked Cancer’s Ass
by Faith Brar
With hopes to inspire, the rich and famous are becoming more and more comfortable sharing their battles against one of the most grueling and mysterious diseases of all time: cancer. Here are 24 celebrities that have won the duel with cancer and have come out the other end as champions, often helping to raise awareness and funds for others who suffer the same sicknesses.
The gorgeous Colombian TV phenomenon took her son to an endocrinologist in 2000 to get him checked for Type I diabetes (it runs in the family). While at the appointment, the doctor offered to examine Vergara and found a lump in her throat that turned out to be thyroid cancer. After having her thyroid gland removed, the actress underwent a few radiation treatments to completely rid herself of the cancer. She is known for her contributions to Stand Up to Cancer, a charity founded by the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
Best known for his role as Wolverine, Hugh Jackman discovered a mark on his nose while filming X-Men: Days of Future Past. He went to get it checked out and was told it was skin cancer. After undergoing treatments, he no longer has cancer and has joined forces with Pure Sun Defense, a line of sunscreens that help kids practice safe sun care.
The Italian American E! News anchor was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and decided to have a double mastectomy. She no longer has cancer and is a supporter of Fab U Wish, an organization that grants wishes to women with breast cancer.
Actress Rita Wilson, wife of Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks, battled breast cancer in early 2015. She underwent a double mastectomy and has been cancer-free ever since.
The nine-time Grammy Award–winning singer was diagnosed with DCIS in 2006. Her battle against cancer transformed her life. It helped her decide to adopt her son Wyatt. After several radiation treatments, Crow is cancer-free and continues to make music.
Michael C. Hall
Well-known for his role as Dexter Morgan, this Golden Globe–winning actor was diagnosed in 2010 with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of cancer that originates from white blood cells. After aggressive treatments, he is cancer-free and will be seen in David Bowie’s Lazarus, which hits Broadway this December.
The two-time Academy Award–winning actor was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2013. Since then, the 78-year-old errs on the side of caution and continues preventative treatments.
In 2011, comedian Wanda Sykes was diagnosed with DCIS, a noninvasive type of breast cancer. The 51-year-old has since undergone a double mastectomy and is now living cancer-free.
After being misdiagnosed three times, the Academy Award–winning actor was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer in the summer of 2010. He underwent radiation treatments for five months, causing him to lose 40 pounds. He is now cancer-free and living happily with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones in New York.
Robert De Niro
In 2003, De Niro found out he had prostate cancer during a routine checkup. The 72-year-old underwent treatment, including some minor surgeries, and has since fully recovered.
Best known for her role as Kelly Bundy in Married with Children, the child star was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at 36 years old. Both her parents were breast cancer survivors, which is why she opted to have a double mastectomy, though doctors found a lump in only one of her breasts. She launched Right Action for Women, a charity aimed to help women who cannot afford breast cancer treatments.
Dame Maggie Smith
We all know her as Professor Mcgonagall in the Harry Potter series and the dowager Grantham in Downton Abbey. In fact, she battled breast cancer while filming Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince. After several aggressive treatments, she is now cancer-free and has continued to pursue her passion: acting.
The Sex and the City costar was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. After undergoing treatment, she has made a full recovery and was at one point the official spokesperson for Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
The Good Morning America host was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and later developed preleukemia in 2012. The TV personality beat both illnesses and is healthy and thriving today.
The Today show fourth-hour co-host found out she had breast cancer in 2008. In a grueling eight-hour procedure, Kotb had a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. She has since written several inspirational books about her struggle with cancer and life after it.
American Horror Story: Coven star Kathy Bates was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003. In 2012, she went in for a scan which revealed a tumor in her breast, prompting her to get a double mastectomy since her mother, aunt, and niece all had breast cancer. Bates is now cancer-free.
Olivia Newton John
During the same weekend that her father died from liver cancer, Olivia Newton John was diagnosed with breast cancer. The star underwent a partial mastectomy and has since become a patron for a cancer and wellness center in Melbourne.
Wife of rocker Ozzy Osbourne was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2002. Ten years later, she underwent a double mastectomy after discovering she was genetically predisposed to breast cancer. She has gone on to establish the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program, which offers support services for patients undergoing cancer treatments.
The Sopranos star was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer in 2003 and began treatment right away. She has said that her diagnosis strengthened her desire to be a mother, and in 2005 she adopted her son, Anderson. In 2012 she joined forces with Y-Me Breast Cancer Organization to bring awareness to the needs of patients and survivors.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 at the age of 25. After two surgeries and four rounds of chemotherapy, the athlete is miraculously cancer-free. He is the founder of the Livestrong Foundation, a nonprofit supporting people affected by cancer.
In 1995, the formidable Mr. T was diagnosed with a rare form of T-cell lymphoma that initially localized in his ear but then spread to the rest of his body. After undergoing chemo and radiation treatments for nearly two years, he finally beat cancer and went on to write a book: Cancer Saved My Life: Cancer Ain’t for No Wimps.
The actor and comedian was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1998 at just 28 years old. Unlike most, he chose to use his sense of humor to raise awareness about the disease. He released graphic footage on MTV’s The Tom Green Show that took viewers through the surgical process that removed his right testicle. He has since established the Tom Green’s Nuts Cancer Fund to help educate people about this particular type of cancer.
After spending weeks in the hospital fighting off a life-threatening infection, losing her mother, and going through a breakup, the standup comedian was told she had breast cancer. All of this went down in the span of a few months in 2012. Notaro underwent a double mastectomy and opted out of any reconstruction. Earlier this year, she paired with Netflix and released Tig, a moving documentary aimed to inspire cancer survivors.
The Australian singer and actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. She underwent surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy and was finally declared cancer-free. Minogue visits Sydney Hospital as often as possible to show her support to those undergoing cancer treatment.