Cancer will touch many people at some point in their lives. The American Cancer Society estimated that about 1.7 million Americans would be diagnosed with cancer in 2018. The estimate doesn’t take into account certain skin cancers or non-invasive cancers, so the actual numbers are likely to be even higher.
In today’s world of social media and open communication, many celebrities are choosing to speak publicly about their cancer diagnoses. Some simply want to be open with their fans, but many wish to raise awareness about everything from early diagnosis to treatment options, especially if their cancer is rare.
Stacker gathered a list of 30 celebrities who have survived cancer. The conditions and treatment options differed among them, but their perseverance has undoubtedly had a positive impact on society.
You may be familiar with this actress from the long-running TV series "Modern Family.” But Vergara also is in remission from thyroid cancer, for which she had surgery and radiation. She manages the resulting hypothyroidism with medication.
The star of "Nurse Jackie” and "The Sopranos" received lots of support from her colleagues during treatment for breast cancer. Falco is in remission, and attributes her sobriety to her emotional recovery from the disease.
Famous for "Moulin Rouge!” and "Trainspotting” Ewan McGregor had a lower-risk run-in with cancer in 2008. While having several moles removed, McGregor received news that one was cancerous. It was caught early, and McGregor made a full recovery.
When comedian Wanda Sykes was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, an aggressive kind of precancerous growth, she chose a double mastectomy to eliminate any chance for the disease to progress. As Sykes said in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, "I had both breasts removed because now I have zero chance of having breast cancer."
Australian songstress Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer at 36. Her course of treatment included radiation, chemotherapy, and a partial mastectomy, and she's now cancer-free. Minogue has been open about her initial misdiagnosis, and emphasizes that patients need to be informed advocates regarding their own care.
Eclectic fashion designer Betsey Johnson was diagnosed with cancer as a complication from breast augmentation surgery. She entered remission after after radiation and surgery, and is active in raising awareness of breast cancer within the fashion industry.
In 2000, comedian Tom Green publicly disclosed a diagnosis of testicular cancer. He wound down his career to focus on his health, but not before he famously filmed "The Tom Green Cancer Special" during his treatment, broadcast on MTV the same year.
CNN newsman and TV personality Anderson Cooper was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2008. Thankfully it proved uncomplicated to treat, and Cooper achieved full remission after surgery.
"How I Met Your Mother” star Cobie Smulders was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 25. She’s in remission now, but it took many surgeries over several years to reach that point.
"Desperate Housewives” actress Marcia Cross underwent treatment for cancer in 2018, sharing photos of her hair loss on Instagram. She did not reveal details of her treatment but said she was eight months cancer free.
In 2010, Michael was diagnosed with oral cancer. Through chemotherapy and radiation, Douglas entered remission and is healthy today.
"Avengers" star Mark Ruffalo was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in 2001. Ruffalo made a full recovery after surgery, but suffered complications including facial paralysis.
"Grease” star Olivia Newton-John has had a long relationship with cancer. She received a breast cancer diagnosis in 1992, followed by a spinal cancer diagnosis in 2013 (not made public). Newton-John announced this past September that her cancer had returned, and her medical treatment includes radiation therapy.
Kathy Bates' ovarian cancer was closely followed by breast cancer in 2012. Complications from a double mastectomy led to lymphedema, but the actress has since entered remission.
Robert De Niro was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003, and entered remission thanks to early detection and aggressive treatment.