15 Celebrities Who Survived Cancer

Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes

Type of Cancer: Breast Cancer

While undergoing a routine breast reduction surgery in 2011, it was discovered that Wanda Sykes had very early stage breast cancer, known as DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ. With cancer on her mother’s side, Sykes was fearful it would get worse, and decided to undergo a double mastectomy.

“I just wanted the best odds,” she told People magazine. “I made my decision because I love life.”

Mr. T
Mr. T

Type of Cancer: T-Cell Lymphoma

Believe it or not, even Mr. T is not immune to cancer. In 1995, he was removing a diamond earring and felt a bump. Two weeks later, he went to a dermatologist, where a biopsy revealed he had T-Cell Lymphoma.

“Can you imagine that?” Mr. T told Coping magazine, “Cancer with my name on it—personalized cancer.”

Cancer had reappeared several times for Mr. T before he became cancer free, but each time he kept on fighting. In classic Mr. T fashion, he had this to say: “I pity the fool who just gives up. We all gonna die eventually from something or other, but don’t be a wimp. Put up a good fight. Don’t sit around waiting on death. We can be tough. We can be determined. Go out and have some fun and make death find you! We can be living with cancer, not dying from it. We can be cancer survivors.”

Giuliana Rancic
Giuliana Rancic

Type of Cancer: Breast Cancer

In October of 2011, TV personality Giuliana Rancic announced on The Today Show that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy after lumpectomies failed to remove all of the cancer cells.

After being cancer free for one year in November 2012, Giuliana told CNN, “If I could erase all this, I would. But I can’t, so I look at the positive. It made me a stronger and a better person. It definitely shifted my priorities.”

Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow

Type of Cancer: Breast Cancer, Brain Tumor

“Without question, finding out I had breast cancer seven and a half years ago was a game changer,” Crow told The Mirror in 2014. “It forced me really to look at who I was and the line of people I took care of. I was at the bottom of my list and never said no to anybody.”

Crow also revealed that she has a brain tumor in the same interview, but that it isn’t serious, and she gets an MRI every six months to be sure she’s okay.

Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates

Type of Cancer: Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer

“Breast cancer runs like a river through my family,” Bates told People magazine. “My mother and niece had it; my aunt died of it. Even if you test negative [for genetic mutations that predispose you to cancer—like I did—you can’t assume you’re okay.”

After beating ovarian cancer in 2003, she didn’t want to take any chances—so when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, Bates underwent a double mastectomy.

She originally decided not to talk publicly about her cancer fights, which she later regretted. “Now if I go through it again,” she told the Daily Mail, “I think I would be a lot more open about it. I admire people who have been open, like Melissa Etheridge and women I see walking around, facing it without wigs and all of that stuff. I think I would be more courageous next time.”

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