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7 Celebrities Who Have Battled Breast Cancer And Used It For Positive Change

Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying, to say the least, and these celebs have firsthand experience. But they've been able to take a traumatic experience and turn it into something positive. They've used their platform and profile to raise awareness about the importance of early detection as they share messages of hope with others battling the disease.

Janice Dickinson

In 2016, supermodel Janice Dickinson revealed that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She described feelings of shock initially, but said, "I am not gonna let that define me, the fear. I'm going to get through this; I'll be just fine.”

Janice Dickinson
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Shannon Doherty

The 90210 actress has been battling breast cancer since 2015, and has documented her journey on her Instagram. This past April, she announced she's in remission.

Moments. They happen. Today was and is a moment. What does remission mean? I heard that word and have no idea how to react. Good news? YES. Overwhelming. YES. Now more waiting. As every single one of my fellow cancer family knows, the next five years is crucial. Reoccurrences happen all the time. Many of you have shared that very story with me. So with a heart that is certainly lighter, I wait. In the meantime, decisions. Reconstruction which is several surgeries. Decision on taking a pill for the next five years that comes with its own set of problems and side effects. I am blessed, I know that. But for now.... remission. I'm going to just breathe. #cancerslayer

95.1k Likes, 5,964 Comments - ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on Instagram: "Moments. They happen. Today was and is a moment. What does remission mean? I heard that word and..."

Rita Wilson

The actress revealed to People magazine that she had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma. She received the diagnosis only after getting a second opinion. She spoke about the situation saying, “I hope this will encourage others to get a second opinion and to trust their instincts if something doesn’t ‘feel’ right.”

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WCRF

 

Giuliana Rancic

TV Personality Giuliana Rancic was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. She and her husband created Fab-U-Wish, which grants wishes to women undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

"Everything will be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end." Ever since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, this quote has been my mantra. These words have been my anthem, my inspiration, my comfort and my prayer. They gave me hope that the emotional and physical struggles that had suddenly consumed my life were NOT my life forever. That this was temporary, and I would pass through this storm and feel the sun on the other side. That I would one day feel like "me' again and be OK. This week, these words are especially meaningful as I celebrate an important milestone - the one I have prayed for every night for one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-seven nights: Five years cancer-free. Now that I've reached this critical milestone, the odds of the breast cancer coming back are not gone but exponentially lower. Breast cancer is more of my history, less of my present, but that doesn't mean I am leaving this battlefield. Through my journey, I have met those who, it breaks my heart to say, did not reach this milestone. This past year alone, more than 40,000 people died of breast cancer, while another 300,000 received the devastating diagnosis and began their own journeys through the storm. And I pray for them all. To those we have lost, I will keep your spirit alive by continuing your fight. And for those who are fighting now, I will pray for you and hope that the same words that helped pull me through the darkest hours will give you some comfort, too. That you will have faith that everything will be OK in the end. For me, this week marks a new beginning. I breathe a sigh of relief as I come to the end of this five-year marathon and cross the most significant finish line of my life so far. I can now declare, with immense gratitude and God's love, that I can feel the sun shining on my face. And I can also say that I'm finally...OK.

45.5k Likes, 1,634 Comments - Giuliana Rancic (@giulianarancic) on Instagram: ""Everything will be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end." Ever since I was diagnosed..."

 

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes opted for a preventative mastectomy after the comedian learned she had stage 0 breast cancer upon having a breast reduction surgery six years ago. She discussed the journey with Ellen DeGeneres

Wanda Sykes Talks About Breast Cancer

She has kept her struggle with cancer private, but today, Wanda Sykes talked openly with Ellen about her recent experience with breast cancer. Watch their candid and inspiring conversation right here.

 

Sheryl Crow

Upon learning about a lump in her breast after her yearly screening, singer Sheryl Crow has become a major advocate for early detection. She showed no signs of cancer but was able to act quickly to treat the disease thanks to the information she received during the screening.

Sheryl Crow stands after testifying before a U.S. House Committee in support of the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (H.R. 1157) Wednesday, May 21 in Washington D.C. (Photo by Melissa Golden/Getty Images)

Angelina Jolie

Though she wasn't diagnosed with cancer, Angelina Jolie opted to have a double mastectomy after she learned she has a genetic mutation that can indicate an increased risk of breast cancer. She wrote a piece explaining her decision advocating for early detection efforts.

Angelina Jolie
Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

 

These celebs have used their diagnosis to raise awareness for early detection, while also providing encouragement to other survivors.

 

 

Lauren Levine is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications and websites including The Charlotte Observer, U.S. News & World Report, American Way magazine, The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Thrillist, Thought Catalog, and others.