Instances of cancer are on the rise, and have become more and more common and more highly publicized in recent times. Many people know or are aware of someone that either has or has had cancer, whether this is a friend, relative or someone at work. There are many cases, of course, of famous people that have – or have had – cancer. Kate Jackson, perhaps the most famous of the original Charlie’s Angels from the original 1970s TV series, battled against cancer in 1987 and 1989, as did the singer and star of Grease, Olivia Newton John, who having been diagnosed in 1992 underwent surgery for a mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
Also of original Charlie’s Angels fame Jacelyn Smith found a lump back in 2002 and underwent treatment, including radiation and a lumpectomy. Many people, especially as the myth is precipitated by the mass media, believe that breast cancer only affects women. However Richard Roundtree, star of the original 1970s Blaxploitation classic Shaft, was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 and underwent grueling rounds of chemotherapy and also a mastectomy.
Interestingly, not everyone opts for conventional forms of treatment when they are diagnosed with cancer, however scary a diagnosis it may be. Radical approaches to cancer treatment can cause considerable controversy when your are a celebrity – and such was the case for soap actress and author Suzanne Somers who opted to forgo standard cancer treatments in favor of holistic medicine and alternative therapies. Many believed at the time that this set a bad and even dangerous example to other sufferers and potential sufferers,
The singer-songwriter and former music teacher Sheryl Crow was also diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2006, and the condition was found to be at an early stage. She started off having only slightly invasive surgical treatment, followed-up with radiotherapy. In the following year, she made a documentary called Crazy Sexy Cancer. Her one-time husband, seven-time tour de France winner Lance Armstrong also suffered from testicular cancer and underwent chronic radiation therapy and surgery – and this was even before he won the tour!
Australian pop star and one-time Neighbors star, Kylie Minogue, also found herself facing a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer in 2005. This caused her to put a halt to her grueling tour itinerary so that she could under chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. Showing just how much of an influence celebrities have on the general public consciousness with such things, her diagnosis caused a steep rise in women aged between 25-44 deciding to have breast imaging and biopsies to check for the disease.
Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon, who portrays the lawyer Miranda Hobbs in the highly successful show, underwent her battle with cancer in 2002 and initially stayed silent about her condition, choosing to campaign out of the media spotlight. She later became a cancer activist, and in 2008 became the ambassador and spokesperson for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.