10 celebrities get real on battling breast cancer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and funds to battle the disease.

Unfortunately, the disease is "the most common cancer" for American women, aside from skin cancers. Cancer.org estimates that this year alone, more than 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed -- and almost 41,000 will pass away from the disease.

Given the prevalence of the disease, doctors encourage patients to be knowledgeable about the symptoms and alert when looking out for the signs. Catching the cancer early can mean all the difference between life or death for many patients -- some of whom have included Hollywood's most famous faces.

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10 celebrities get real about breast cancer
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10 celebrities get real about breast cancer

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

The 56-year-old was most recently diagnosed with breast cancer soon after the 2017 Emmy Awards. She confirmed the diagnosis on Instagram, quickly calling attention to the plight of other women who don't have health care. 

"1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I'm the one. The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let's fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality," she wrote in the post

Angelina Jolie 

In 2013, at age 37, the actress wrote a New York Times piece about her experiences with breast cancer and the BRCA1 gene. She had an 87% risk of breast cancer, 50% risk of ovarian cancer, so she took preventative action, including a double mastectomy and the later removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

"Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex," she wrote.

Continuing in the New York Times, But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.

  

Cynthia Nixon

At 40, the acclaimed actress was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram in 2006. She decided to keep it private for a year after her diagnosis. 

At age 12, Nixon watched her mother battle breast cancer and knew the importance of preventative care. 

"I’ve learned that if you catch breast cancer early, the chances are overwhelmingly good that you’ll be cured. So my attitude, which very much mirrored my mother’s, was this wasn’t a big deal," the star said, according to Marie Claire

Giuliana Rancic 

In 2011, after the diagnosis of an early-stage tumor, the host underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

She said to Glamour: "....My doctor said, "We have great news in one breast and bad news in the other. You need to start thinking about a mastectomy." That had been the furthest thing from my mind. I knew nothing about breast cancer before this happened to me, and I thought mastectomy meant stage three or four cancer. I didn't have a big family history of it. I just never thought it would happen to me. I really didn't."

Shannen Doherty

The former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star was diagnosed in 2015 and regularly documented her battle on social media. After going through chemotherapy, she announced she's in remission in April 2017. 

"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," she shared on social media

Sheryl Crow

In 2006, the singer publicly announced she was battling the disease after she underwent "minimally invasive surgery." 

"I am inspired by the brave women who have faced this battle before me and grateful for the support of family and friends," she said according to ABC News

Olivia Newton-John

In 2017, the 68-year-old singer and actress revealed she was once again battling breast cancer. After her first diagnosis in 1992, she underwent a partial mastectomy as well as chemo. 

"I am really grateful for and touched by the worldwide outpouring of love and concern. Thank you. I am feeling good and enjoying total support from my family and friends, along with a team of wellness and medical practitioners both here in the US and at my Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia. I’m totally confident that my new journey will have a positive success story to inspire others!” she said exclusively to People in June

Melissa Etheridge

Because of the singer's family history, Etheridge was "vigilant" about examinations before eventually being diagnosed in 2004. 

"I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life. It excites me every day when I can wake up and feel energy and feel good and feel purpose. The changes I made were big and not easy. Sugar is a drug, incredibly addictive. That one change can make a huge difference in your life," she said to ABC News in 2015

Christina Applegate

At 36 years old, the actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. After biopsies and a lumpectomy, as well as radiation, she tested positive for the BRCA gene.

Later, she underwent a double mastectomy. "It came on really fast. It was one of those things that I woke up and it felt so right," she says. "It just seemed like, 'I don't want to have to deal with this again. I don't want to keep putting that stuff in my body. I just want to be done with this.' & I was just going to let them go," she said according to CNN.

Rita Wilson

In 2015, it became known that the actress was battling breast cancer and underwent both a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. 

Since then, she's been outspoken about encouraging others to be vigilant about routine checks.

"Last week, with my husband by my side, and with the love and support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma. I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery. Why? Because I caught this early, have excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion," she said according to People

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Stars like Angelina Jolie, Melissa Etheridge and Cynthia Nixon understood and acted on their family history -- they were "vigilant" in regularly seeing doctors and understanding the signs to look out for. While stars like Giuliana Rancic and Christina Applegate underwent mastectomies despite a lack of family histories, others such as Olivia Newton-John were diagnosed twice.

Through their stories, they are encouraging women to take action early and are advocating for increased research on the condition. These brave women are letting others battling the disease know they are not alone. Scroll through above to read their stories.

For more on symptoms of breast cancer, click here.

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The best products to show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
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The best products to show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Rebecca Taylor Rose Clip Chiffon Ruffle Top ($325)

Rebecca Taylor will be donating 50% of the proceeds to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation during the month of October.

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Naked Cashmere Love Scarf for Breast Cancer ($165)

Naked Cashmere offering the exclusive LOVE Scarf. For each scarf sold, Naked Cashmere will be donating $50 to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Swimsuits For All Soloist Razzle Underwire Bikini ($51.80)

Swimsuits For All and FULLBEAUTY Brands are donating 5% of total online swim and bra sales to the Carol M. Baldwin Cancer Research Fund for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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Swimsuits For All Chlorine Resistant Zen Swim Bra ($27.30)

Swimsuits For All and FULLBEAUTY Brands are donating 5% of total online swim and bra sales to the Carol M. Baldwin Cancer Research Fund for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

BUY IT

Full Beauty Amoureuse Underwire Bra ($34.99)

Swimsuits For All and FULLBEAUTY Brands are donating 5% of total online swim and bra sales to the Carol M. Baldwin Cancer Research Fund for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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Brahmin BCA Collection Kayla Wristlet ($125)

Brahmin will donate a portion of proceeds for every Burlwood Melbourne purchase online through the end of October to National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Brahmin Elizabeth BCA Collection Pencil Case ($65)

Brahmin will donate a portion of proceeds for every Burlwood Melbourne purchase online through the end of October to National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Alala Ace Seamless Bra ($65) and Heroine Tight ($110)

Alala will be donating 30% of proceeds generated from a group of specially selected styles in support of the Weill Cornell Breast Center with the Iris Cantor Women's Health Center at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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MIEL Racerback Bra ($39)

MIEL will donate 20% of proceeds generated sitewide, 50/50, to Look Good Feel Better and Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The promotion lasts throughout the entire month of October.

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Tory Burch Parker Small Tote ($268)

During October 2017, Tory Burch will donate 20% from select products to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, up to a maximum of $35,000.

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Mira Rae Pia Tank in Rosebud ($54)

Mira Rae will donate 20% of sales of the Pia Tank in Rosebud during the month of October to Maple Tree Cancer Alliance.

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Amita Naithani Ruffle Neckline Dress ($48)

Amita Naithani will donate 50% of sales from the selected styles during the month of October will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

New Balance Printed Ribbon Bomber Jacket ($145)

New Balance will donate 5% of all profits from the Lace Up the Cure collection to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation.

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New Balance Pink Ribbon Printed Tight ($60)

New Balance will donate 5% of all profits from the Lace Up the Cure collection to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation.

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New Balance Pink Ribbon Sneakers ($165)

New Balance will donate 5% of all profits from the Lace Up the Cure collection to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation.

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Missoni Key to the Cure Tee ($35.00)

100% of the proceeds from this Saks Fifth Avenue Missoni tee will be donated to 13 local cancer charities. 

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