18 celebrities who have spoken about having cancer (2023)

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18 celebrities who have spoken about having cancer (1)

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  • Many actors, singers, and other famous people have spoken about having cancer.

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  • Hugh Jackman and Kathy Bates have had cancer multiple times.
  • Giuliana Rancic, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Jane Fonda have also spoken about having cancer.

Katie Couric learned she had early-stage breast cancer after a mammogram and ultrasound.

18 celebrities who have spoken about having cancer (2)

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The former co-host of the "Today" show wrote on her website in September 2022 that she had been diagnosed with and treated for early-stage breast cancer over the summer.

The journalist said the health scare could have been worse if her doctor hadn't reminded her she was overdue for a mammogram. She said the mammogram and a breast ultrasound led her doctor to conduct a biopsy.

Couric said she was treated with a lumpectomy and radiation. She said she will continue to take a medication for five years.



It took Fran Drescher years to be properly diagnosed with uterine cancer.

18 celebrities who have spoken about having cancer (3)

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The actress told the Washington Post in 2016 she saw eight doctors over the course of two years before she was properly diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2000.

The "Nanny" star underwent a hysterectomy to treat the disease and wrote about her experiences in the book "Cancer Schmancer." Drescher has since formed a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women recognize the early warning signs of the disease.

"I'm not glad I had cancer. I don't wish it on anyone," she told People in October 2018. "But I am better for it. It's deepened me as a human being. It's forced me to have a life that resonates with other people's needs, with compassion and a sensitivity to other people's pain."



Jane Fonda has been diagnosed with cancer a few times.

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Jon Oringer

In September 2022, the "Grace and Frankie" star said she had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. On Instagram, she shared she'd started chemotherapy treatments for it.

Previously, in January 2018 the actress showed up to an interview with BUILD Series with a bandage on her lip and explained she'd recently had a growth removed.

"I just want to explain the bandage. I just had a cancer taken from my lip," Fonda said. "I thought it was going to heal in time before I came before you, but it's fine."

In an interview with Howard Stern later that day, Fonda said doctors had biopsied the growth and she was going to be "fine."

She had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and later underwent a mastectomy.



Julia Louis-Dreyfus was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 but is now cancer-free.

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After sharing she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, the "Veep" star is cancer-free.

The actress underwent three rounds of chemotherapy and told Jimmy Kimmel the good news when she visited his late-night show that October.

The actress also said that she decided to speak out about her diagnosis and share updates on her treatment because she wanted to take the opportunity to advocate for affordable health care.

"I think it's an important conversation to have about health and health care," she told Kimmel. "I very much considered the notion that as someone battling this disease, the idea that I might not have health insurance, which I do thanks to my great union, is completely terrifying."



Ben Stiller said he's cancer-free after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014.

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The "Zoolander" star underwent surgery to remove a tumor when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014. The actor gave fans an update on his health when he visited the "Today" show in 2017 and revealed he was "three years, now, cancer-free."

Stiller said he came forward about his own experience so that he could encourage men to undergo early detection screening tests.

"And I'm really happy that getting the word out there, about the PSA [prostate-specific antigen] test, has actually made a little bit of a difference, I think," he said during his appearance on the "Today" show.

He continued, "A lot of people talk to me, and also the United States Preventive Services Task Force changed their guideline and recommended that you speak with your doctor about taking the test. So, I think it's a good move."



Olivia Newton-John spoke about her multiple cancer diagnoses before her death in 2022.

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In September 2018, the then-70-year-old singer and actress announced she was postponing her North American concert tour after she was diagnosed with cancer for a third time.

In a Facebook post, Newton-John wrote that a tumor had metastasized in her lower back and she was undergoing radiation treatment.

The "Grease" star was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. She underwent nine months of chemotherapy and had a mastectomy. In 2013, doctors found that the cancer had returned and had spread to her shoulder.

The actress died at age 73 in August 2022.

"Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her Ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends," her husband John Easterling wrote in an Instagram post. "Olivia has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer."



Cynthia Nixon learned she had breast cancer when it was still in its early stages thanks to a routine mammogram.

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"The Sex and the City" star underwent six and a half weeks of radiation therapy and a lumpectomy when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.

In 2011, the actress told CURE that a routine mammogram was able to detect the tumor while it was still small.

"My cancer was found during a routine mammogram when I was 40. Because my mother had breast cancer twice, I started getting mammograms when I was 35," she said. "I think that speaks volumes of how important it is to get mammograms, how important it is to get them regularly and how important it is to get them young. If I had started when I was 40, maybe they wouldn't have caught it."



Christina Applegate has undergone multiple surgeries since she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.

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The "Bad Moms" star underwent a double mastectomy when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008.

In 2017, the actress took the precautionary measure to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed because she's a carrier of the BRCA1 gene mutation, which increases her risk of developing cancer.

"When I first came out about my breast cancer I didn't want to talk about it, but I had to, because young women were getting it, and people weren't understanding that," Applegate told People in April 2018. "They weren't understanding that women that were 36 were getting breast cancer, or women that were 28 were getting breast cancer, and they were opting not to get MRIs when they were high-risk because of the cost. My activism came out."



Hugh Jackman first spoke about having skin cancer in 2013.

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The "X-Men" star has had multiple cancer scares and surgeries since he was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2013.

"It's a basal cell carcinoma," the 50-year-old actor said when he appeared on "Live! with Kelly" in 2017 and had a bandage on his nose. "Everything's fine. It is skin cancer, but the least dangerous form of it. So it's just something I have to get out."

The actor has been public about his health issues and used his own battle as an opportunity to encourage people to wear sunscreen. He has been diagnosed with cancer six times, per The Independent.



Maura Tierney had a mastectomy and underwent chemo when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2009.

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Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Audi)

"The Affair" star has spoken about how surprised she was to have been diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 44 years old.

"The Affair" star told Everyday Health that she was, at times, more afraid of the side effects of chemotherapy than of the cancer itself.

"I was very shocked and surprised because of my age," she told Coping with Cancer magazine in 2012, per Best Life. "I've since learned that it's not that shocking; there are plenty of young women diagnosed with breast cancer."

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