LIST: Local and international celebrities who are open about having breast cancer
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer all over the world. It can occur both in men and women and celebrities, like any human being, can be diagnosed with it, too.
Most often than not, these stars who triumphed over breast cancer have been using their voice in raising awareness about the disease and giving encouragement to its brave warriors through campaigns and movements.
They have become an inspiration for many, as they share their personal stories and help others despite their own struggles with the disease.
Here are some of the ones who have openly spoken up in hopes of educating and encouraging others to never be afraid of facing the disease and hold their head held high.
Actress Maritoni Fernandez has been cancer-free for over 20 years after winning her battle against stage 2A breast cancer.
The 53-year-old star shared that even before she was diagnosed, she already felt a lump on her right breast. She then take a biopsy and was diagnosed in March 2000—right in time for her 30th birthday. At that time, she thought she wouldn't be able to survive the disease because of her young age.
She, her husband Alex, and seven-year-old daughter Alexia then flew to West Virginina, USA to have her center treated. According to a HealthToday report, Maritoni underwent lumpectomy, four cycles of chemotherapy, and six weeks of radiation therapy. A year later, her doctor told her that she can finally go back to what she’s been doing before like nothing happened.
Now, Maritoni shares her triumphs and gratefulness for being able to survive the illness and live well and healthily. She is also one of the survivors who impart their stories in order to raise awareness against the big C.
She still continues taking tests to check early signs of recurrence or any other diseases.
“Graduated chemo January 2001 and 21 years and 9 months later am still doing my bi-annual tomographies like clock work. I am always slightly anxious during these, which I have come to learn is good, as a survivor,” she shared in an Instagram post in September this year.
"Every single day is a blessing, borrowed time if you will. Every survivor understands. Being in my 50’s, covid and being a survivor has given the term ‘health is wealth’ a whole new meaning. Thank you Jesus for every extra hour, day, month, year and decade. Life is truly a gift," she added.
Former TV actress, host, and model, Jaymee Joaquin was diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer in 2016.
She battled the disease as it recurred four times and underwent three surgeries. Her journey has been tough and overwhelming, but the brave warrior never loses hope and continues inspiring her “pink sisters” in overcoming the disease.
Her first published book, "That Sh*t Called Cancer," shares her experiences on how she's been winning back her life, offers support and inspiration to those who are fighting against breast cancer. She also actively shares her journey and how it has changed her perspective in life on her social media platforms to reach more people.
“It’s a gentle reminder for women to do a self-check on their boobies because early detection of breast cancer can prolong lives especially when it gets treated while at its early stages. 💝,” she said in her recent Instagram post for Breast Cancer Awareness Month celebration.
Melissa de Leon
Actress Melissa de Leon discovered a lump in her left breast in 2005. She thought it wasn’t anything serious after she tested negative on her biopsy.
But a year later, in August 2006, the former 'Sang Linggo nAPO Sila host underwent a mammogram procedure, which confirmed she has stage 2b breast cancer. She underwent six tough chemotherapies but unfortunately, it recurred again in 2014 as she felt a lump in her right breast.
She has shared on the second episode of “Tita Hope Talks: Tackling Access to Cancer Diagnosis and Navigation in the COVID-19 Era” the role of cancer screening in early detection and its impact on survival. "This time I already knew that early detection could save me," Melissa said. "So I had myself checked right away. And yes, I had my right breast mastectomy all over again."
Melissa has become the president of breast cancer support group “Project Pink” and has been cancer-free since her first breast cancer for 14 years now
Brazilian actress and NET25 Kada Umaga’s host Daiana Menezes shares her silent journey with Big C after being diagnosed back in 2018.
She found a small lump on her right breast that she first didn’t worry about since it wasn’t painful. However, after a few months, she followed her guts to finally take the test and it turned out to be stage 2B breast cancer.
Diana then silently addressed the disease and proceeded to treatment immediately with the “right people” supporting her during that time. After years of battling, she proudly announces being cancer-free. Her almost 5-years journey advocates her in sharing information for people who undergo the same track she’s been through.
“I’m so grateful for my life, I learned a lot with my experience and how to follow a healthier lifestyle because I found out early; not so early, stage 2B, but enough for me to be here today. It doesn’t have to be a nightmare. If I can make it so can you,” she said on her Instagram post encouraging others to conquer the disease.
I Should Be So Lucky star Kylie Minogue received the diagnosis of her breast cancer at the age of 36. Before then, she had an initial screening during which the doctors missed her tumor. The singer never dismissed her gut feeling so she sought second opinion at which point the disease was detected.
With eight months of chemotherapy and radiation then remission, the Aussie star halted her Showgirl tour just two months after it began. Her journey has become a silent battle for her that when it was asked in interviews later on, she felt difficult to talk about as for her “it’s deep, long and pretty strange."
In February 2006, she declared being cancer-free and began sharing her story and encouraging others to seek cancer screenings and treatments.
"Cancer has probably touched everyone in this audience in some way or another, and all the stories are different, but certainly in as much as she felt it was her duty to talk about it," she said in a 2015 interview on ITV's Jonathan Ross Show.
Actress Cynthia Nixon quietly battled big C two years after Sex and the City wrapped up. In 2006, the actress went into a routine mammogram appointment where she was able to detect a “mass in her breast that was so subtle as to be nearly undetectable”. She shared that she did the routine checkups when she was 35 since her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer twice.
The actress shared that she had a lumpectomy and six and a half weeks of radiation therapy. Two years later, she revealed that she was cancer-free and have become an advocate for breast cancer awareness by becoming an ambassador for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation
"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," she told Cure Today in 2011.
Mathew Knowles, father of Beyoncé and Solange Knowles, is a proud survivor of male breast cancer. The music executive's journey began in July 2019 when he noticed drops of blood on his shirts. A mammogram and biopsy confirmed that he had stage 1a breast cancer.
His early detection helped him quickly find and successfully treat the disease. He later had a mastectomy to remove the tumor from his breast which, according to a Health.com report, revealed he had a mutation in his BRCA2 gene, which increases his risk for breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer or melanoma.
Knowles has been cancer-free since 2020 and continues to encourage men to get checked for "chest cancer"—a term he uses as an “inclusive terminology that doesn’t embarrass men or prevent them from seeking the care they need”.
“As a male breast/chest cancer survivor, I've learned one word...gratitude! I hope each and every one of you appreciate the beauty of life and live each day to the fullest,” he said in his Instagram post earlier this month.
Anne with an E star Miranda McKeon have been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in June 2021. She was only 19 years old at that time.
The actress shared that she immediately began searching about the disease after she brushed across a lump on her breast while adjusting her top on a trip with friends. She later set an appointment with a doctor and had the disease confirmed.
Her “one in a million” journey began with IVF treatments, eight rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries, and 25 radiation sessions over the next eight months of being diagnosed. Eight months later, on February 25 this year, she was already in remission and decided to get breast reconstruction to build back her confidence after her cancer treatments.
“Documenting pieces of these past eight months has been therapeutic for me and I hope it can help people going through things, both big and small, to see that life can be really really hard - and it can also be really really amazingly incredible. Hurt and happy can coexist. It is your choice how you handle the cards you’re dealt,” she penned in her Instagram post last February.