Cancer is something that affects all of us. In way one or another cancer has touched every single person’s life. Whether they battle the disease themselves, have loved ones going through the struggle, or even if they are involved in cancer-related charity efforts, cancer has no boundaries when it comes to the people that it impact. Cancer doesn’t care if you are rich, poor, or famous.
You have probably noticed that a lot of celebrities participate in philanthropy events to raise funds for cancer research. They appear in commercials encouraging people to donate and support hospitals. They share patient stories on social media. Many stars have used their spot in the limelight as an opportunity to help people affected with cancer.
There are plenty of well-known people who lend their voice and star power to help those with cancer, but there are also many celebrities who have been affected by the disease firsthand. Some of these celebs fought their battles privately and just focused on their own health and well-being. A lot of people do not realize that a good amount of their favorite celebrities have struggled with cancer. Cancer does not discriminate and can affect just about anyone. The only positive thing to come from these stars going through the cancer battle is that most of them use their celebrity to increase awareness, raise funds, and give back to those patients who need the help.
Did you know that these 14 celebrities had cancer?
14. Michael C. Hall
It’s hard to hear the name Michael C. Hall and not think of his title role on Dexter. And in my mind, Dexter Morgan is an an invincible person. That’s why it was so hard for fans like me to wrap our heads around Michael C. Hall’s cancer diagnosis. His agent announced that Michael C. Hall had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a form of blood cancer, in 2010. In the same year, he won the Golden Globe award for his role on the TV series, beat cancer, and went back to work on Dexter. Luckily, Michael C. Hall was able to to overcome his medical struggles and triumph as an actor.
13. Bob Marley
Bob Marley is a legend with music that will live on forever, but the singer died when he was only 36 because of a brain tumor. The cancer spread to his brain and other organs from a type of cancer known as acral lentiginous melanoma. When a lot of people hear the phrase “melanoma,” they think of sunburn, but this type of melanoma is very different. It is found on the soles of feet, the palms of hands, and under nails. Bob Marley hurt his toe during a soccer game. the wound did not heal, and the toe became cancerous. The singer was advised to get the toe amputated many times and he refused to do so because of religious beliefs that had to do with “not cutting the flesh”. This whole story is very sad because a great life was cut short and it seems like his untimely death could have been easily prevented.
12. Lisa Vanderpump
Anyone who watches Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or Vanderpump Rules knows how strong Lisa Vanderpump is. It doesn’t seem like anything can ever get her down. She is always holding her head up high and trying to be positive no matter what drama or controversy comes her way. So it’s really no surprise that Lisa Vanderpump managed to remain cool when faced with skin cancer. No one really knew that the Real Housewives star had medical issues until she tweeted, “Fantastic news I have all clear for biopsies after having experienced serious skin cancer. I urge you to get tested and hide from sun!” I don’t blame Lisa for dealing with medical issues in private and I also commend her for using her public platform to raise awareness about skin cancer and encourage sun safety.
11. Khloe Kardashian
Just when you thought that Khloe Kardashian had already been through enough hard times in her life, it turns out that she also had skin cancer— more than once. When Khloe Kardashian was just nineteen she discovered moles on her back, got them checked, and found out that she had skin cancer and needed them removed. She also found a cancerous mole on her breast and had to go to a plastic surgeon to get it removed and even had a fear of losing her breast because doctors were not sure how deep the cancer had spread. Now Khloe is very conscious of her behavior. She wears sunscreen daily, has a watchful eye on her body, and gets regular examinations. This poor woman has been through so much. No wonder she is such a strong lady. Once again, the youngest Kardashian sister has showed us all how to come out of a struggle and turn a negative situation into a positive one.
10. Robert De Niro
It is very surprising to learn that Robert De Niro was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but he’s clearly the kind of person who won’t let anything get him down. It seems like the man is always working on new movies, so I had no idea that he had any sort of medical problems, let alone cancer. Doctors detected Robert De Niro’s prostate cancer in its very early stages. That and the actor’s great physical condition allowed him to successfully beat the disease. Other than admitting that he was diagnosed and optimistic about his prognosis, De Niro took care of himself away from the public eye and continued to be the consummate professional that everyone knows and loves.
9. Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas managed to do the impossible when he made more trouble for himself on top of a cancer diagnosis. So what did he do that was worse than having throat cancer? He blamed his wife’s vagina for causing the cancer. Yes, you read that right: Michael Douglas thinks that Catherine Zeta-Jones’s vagina was responsible for his throat cancer. Not only that, but he gave people an excuse to not go downtown when it comes to bedroom activity when he explained the cause of his throat cancer: “Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus.” Wow, that is quite the mouthful (pun intended).
8. David Bowie
David Bowie‘s death really came out of nowhere for a lot of people. The late singer’s fans and a lot of his friends were pretty shocked to learn that he passed away from liver cancer. Almost no one knew that he was battling the deadly disease and that is because he wanted to live the rest of his life with dignity and privacy. David Bowie was all about living his life to its fullest potential and knew about his prognosis for about a year before he died. He even released his last album Blackstar just two days before his passing and a music video only three days before. Aside from battling cancer, it was revealed that David Bowie had six heart attacks over the years. It is unbelievable to think about how much he has gone through and how he was able to maintain his privacy at the same time.
7. Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman has been plagued with skin cancer multiple times throughout his life. At first he thought that his nose was bleeding while filming one of his scenes as Wolverine. Then he just assumed that it was dried up blood. Then when what he perceived to be a bruise didn’t go away, he went to have it checked out and a doctor diagnosed him with basal cell carcinoma. Since the initial diagnosis, he has been inflicted with skin cancer many times, has undergone several surgeries, and has been very vocal about the dangers of skin cancer. Hugh Jackman has encouraged everyone to be careful in the sun and do what they can to prevent skin cancer. Sadly, he is past that point and has to go to the doctor’s office every three months for check-ups for the rest of his life. Take the actor’s journey as a cautionary tale for us all to be more sun conscious.
6. Dr. Drew
Dr. Drew is always there to help whenever his patients are in need, so that makes it tough to believe that Dr. Drew can have problems of his own. But then again, he is a human being so of course, he is not perfect and can have medical problems just like the rest of us can. Nevertheless, it was still very sad to hear the news that everyone’s favorite doctor was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was so difficult for many people to wrap their heads around: the man who takes care of everyone else needed to take care of himself for once. Thankfully, he ended up getting surgery and saved his life from the terrible disease.
5. Hoda Kotb
Everyone who watches the Today Show views Hoda Kotb as one of those “friend in your head” celebrities and by that I mean she is one of those people that her fans feel a kinship with. She is one of those hosts that the viewers really feel like they know in some kind of one-sided friendship. Everyone and their grandmother loves Hoda, so we have all been very invested in her journey. Hoda has been very open about her struggle with breast cancer and her adjustment to a post-cancer life. She has made herself vulnerable to her fans and they all love and support her honesty.
4. John McCain
If you thought that losing the presidential election was the toughest time in the life of John McCain, he has actually been through much worse. The former republican presidential candidate has been enduring a long battle with skin cancer and these medical troubles date all the way back to 1993. This man has been through so much: John McCain had four different melanomas by 2008, so obviously the election that year was not the most stressful situation he went through that year. The man has survived skin cancer several times over so losing the presidential election to Barack Obama was a cake walk in comparison.
3. Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman is another one of those celebrities who elected to battle cancer in public, but he did share the news to help increase awareness about cancer detection and treatments. The actor announced that he was diagnosed with and cured of throat cancer in one full swoop in 2013. The story started and ended there and Dustin Hoffman was able to control the news in that respect. Doctors were able to detect the disease early on and he went through surgery to get rid of the cancer. He also announced that he will undergo additional treatments to decrease the chances of the throat cancer reoccurring.
2. Cynthia Nixon
When Cynthia Nixon was diagnosed with breast cancer, she decided to keep the news to herself. She was afraid of the paparazzi following her to the hospital and photographing her between treatments. She really wanted her privacy because she knows how tough breast cancer can be: she watched her own mother battle the disease when she was only twelve years old. The Sex and the City alum found out that she was sick when she went in for a routine mammogram and was called back in for a follow up appointment. They were able to detect it early and Nixon refused to let cancer get in the way of her life. She even scheduled her surgery on her day off from her play so she wouldn’t miss any work. This is just another reminder that everyone should go in for regular check-ups so they can stay on top of their health.
1. Camille Grammer
I really miss seeing my girl Camille Grammer on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She was my absolute favorite, but the timing of her Bravo exit definitely worked out. She left the reality show right before she started fighting her battle against endometrial cancer. It gave her the privacy to focus on getting better. Now that Camille Grammer has beat cancer, she has a new focus in life that is much greater than cat fighting on reality television. Camille is the National Chair of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer and it is a position that she is very devoted to.
Cancer does not discriminate. Anyone can be victimized by the disease. These stars have done what they could to turn a scary situation into a positive one by sharing their experiences in addition to raising funds and awareness through their struggle.