There's more to October than Halloween candy and pumpkin spice drinks, as the prevalence of pink ribbons prove. It's also breast cancer awareness month. And as these empowering
quotes for breast cancer awareness month demonstrate, people are more dedicated than ever to supporting the cause. If you or a loved one is struggling with this diagnosis, remember that you aren't alone.
The current facts about breast cancer are pretty serious. In fact, 1 out of 8 women in the United States will get
diagnosed with breast cancer within her lifetime, and it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Chances are very high that you or someone in your life has been affected by this diagnosis, so you know how frightening it can be.
Thankfully, there is also a tremendous amount of support available for
everyone touched by breast cancer. Plenty of media figures, from actresses to sports stars, have used their influence to raise support for this cause. It can happen to anyone, but so many people are working to make this diagnosis less frightening than ever before. Read on for some truly inspiring words about cancer from people who have been there, too. 1 “My cancer scare changed my life. I’m grateful for every new healthy day I have. It has helped me prioritize my life.” - Olivia Newton John United Archives/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Actress Oliva Newton John, who played Sandy in Grease, was
diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. After a full year of treatment, she went into remission and is now diligent about self-examinations and urging others to do the same. 2 “When your body heals, you start to feel better. You realize that you don’t care about the scars. You are just happy to have this body, a healthy body, no matter the lumps and bumps and problems.” - Hoda Kotb
TODAY Show host was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and is now in remission. Instead of chemotherapy, she underwent surgery and spent five years on a prescription medicine treatment. Now, she is a major advocate for breast cancer awareness and early detection. 3 “The cancer served a real purpose, making me a little bit more conscious of time.” - Gloria Steinem 4 I do feel different, but I can’t quite articulate how. I’ve come out the other side of this, and I’m still not exactly sure how to define the difference other than to say I’m grateful, of course, but it’s more than that. It’s bigger.” - Julia Louis-Dreyfus
2017, Julia Louis-Dreyfus publicly announced she had been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and was undergoing treatment. After going through six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, she is now in remission. 5 “Medical diagnoses can leave you feeling alone and scared. When it comes to breast cancer you’re not alone, and scary though it is, there's a network of amazing women to help you through it” - Judy Blume
overcoming cervical cancer, in 2012 Judy Blume announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. In order to fight the disease, she opted to undergo a double mastectomy and has been vocal about her experience ever since. 6 "I think the common thread is that no patient can or should go through breast cancer alone. Those who are surrounded by supportive family, friends and caregivers who specialize in breast cancer often show the greatest results when it comes to survivorship." — Robin Roberts Amy Sussman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images 7 “I plan on … encouraging so many women who are out there, who are still in the thick of it, who have yet to fight this fight, that you can do it, you can get through this one step at a time.” - Amy Robach
Amy went to get herself checked after her
Good Morning America colleague Robin Roberts shared her own diagnosis, and was shocked when the radiologist discovered a tumor. She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and underwent treatment, but is now happy to be in remission. 8 “My scars? I barely see them. I feel whole; I really do. Because every day, I get to say, 'There’s no cancer.' I’m healthy, and that’s beautiful.” - Wanda Sykes
breast reduction surgery in 2011, Wanda Sykes learned they had detected breast cancer in her tissue. Thankfully, it was a non-invasive form, but since she has a family history of breast cancer she opted for a double mastectomy so she wouldn't have to worry about breast cancer again. 9 “It was a newfound level of support when I started to speak with other survivors ... Knowing that they got to the other side, I knew that I too could get there.” - Samantha Harris
Back in 2013, the
co-host noticed a lump in her breast only 11 days after having a clear mammogram. After a lumpectomy, Harris' doctor confirmed she had breast cancer and she underwent surgery for a double mastectomy and reconstruction. The surgery successfully removed all of the disease, and Samantha is now a strong advocate for screening and early detection. Dancing With the Stars 10 “Be patient and don’t give up. Trust me when I say you will come out changed and stronger on the other side of this.” - Brenda Jones
Brenda Jones, creator of
Hug Wraps, discovered a lump in her breast in 2008 and began treatment not long after. She used her experience as a patient to create her product and nonprofit organization which provides comfortable, colorful robes to cancer patients at no charge. 11 “Cancer is a beast that changes one. For me, it changed me in a lot of beautiful ways.” - Shannen Doherty Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
2015, Shannen Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent several rounds of treatment before being declared cancer free in 2018. In 2020 she revealed her cancer had returned as stage 4, but she is continuing to fight and is undergoing treatment. 12 “This turned out to be a very good thing. I stopped. I looked at my life, I looked at my body and spirit. I got a new perspective. That's brought me incredible clarity and a lot of peace.” - Melissa Ethridge
Melissa Ethridge was
on tour in 2004 when she discovered a lump in her breast. Not long after, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation. Now she is in remission and she uses her story and experience to encourage other women to make their health a priority. 13 "One important thing to know is you’re still the same person during it. I’m more eager than ever to do what I did. I want to do everything." — Kylie Minogue Lia Toby/BFC / Contributor / Getty
breast cancer in 2005, Minogue has been open and candid about her experiences with surgery and chemotherapy, as noted in The Independent. 14 "We aren't alone in the world. And we're more alike than not. We all live through some sort of burden or pain, and we are all beautiful, no matter what." — Dana Donofree
After being diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma at the age of 27,
Dana Donofree founded AnaOno, a lingerie line for women who have had breast surgery or a mastectomy. She turned her experience with cancer into an opportunity to help other women feel comfortable and beautiful. 15 "I started realizing I could be an example for women to not just be aware of breast cancer but to act on it, to make an appointment, to give themselves an exam." — Giuliana Rancic 16 "There can be life after breast cancer. The prerequisite is early detection." — Ann Jillian
Likewise, Ann Jillian advocates early detection as well. Getting examined regularly is so crucial.
17 "Breast cancer is being detected at an earlier, more treatable stage these days, largely because women are taking more preventive measures, like self-exams and regular mammograms. And treatment is getting better too." — Elizabeth Hurley Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images 18 "Breast cancer, whether I like it or not, is part of my family's story. That's why I am so passionate about raising awareness, because I have seen firsthand how it can impact others." — DeAngelo Williams 19 "Women who have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer can learn a tremendous amount from women who have already been treated." — Anne Wojcicki
23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki also advocates support for those with breast cancer. Early diagnosis is so crucial.
20 "Over 3.3 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today." — National Breast Cancer Foundation
One of the most inspiring quotes is a simple statement of fact. Thanks to increased awareness, early detection, and improved treatment options,
death rates from breast cancer have been in decline since approximately 1990, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. All this awareness and support appears to be paying off in a very real and positive way, and hopefully that trend continues into the future.
This article was originally published on
Oct. 11, 2018