Before Jolie: Other celebrities to speak out on health issuesLoading
  • Olivia
    OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN: Grammy-winning singer Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 at age 43. To raise prevention awareness, she is now the spokeswoman for the Liv Breast Self-Examination Kit, which assists women with early detection.
    Paul Mitchell
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    RICHARD ROUNDTREE: In 1993, "Shaft" actor Richard Roundtree was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 51. He kept quiet until he had been cancer-free for five years. He now tours the country to raise awareness about male breast cancer.
    Eli Reed
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    KATIE COURIC: After her husband died of colon cancer in 1998, Katie Couric became a spokeswoman for cancer awareness. To get the word out for cancer testing, Couric underwent a colonoscopy on-air in March 2000 on the "Today" show. According to a 2003 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, "Couric's televised colon cancer awareness campaign was associated with an increase in colonoscopy use." In October 2005, Couric broadcasted her own mammogram on "Today" as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
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    MOTEL WILLIAMS: Daytime talk-show host Montel Williams went public with his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1999 after he had been suffering from sudden constant pain.
    RANDALL BENTON | rbenton@sacbee.com
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    ELISABETH HASSELBECK: "The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck was diagnosed with celiac disease after falling ill during her stint on "Survivor: The Australian Outback" in 2001. In 2009, Hasselbeck published "The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide" to provide guidance to those on how to cook healthfully while also dealing with the food-restrictive disease.
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    MELISSA ETHERIDGE: Melissa Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 at age 43. After undergoing chemotherapy, she famously performed bald at the 2005 Grammy Awards. She appeared with several other celebrity cancer survivors in the 2010 breast cancer documentary "1 a Minute" that raised awareness and helped raise money in hopes of finding a cure.
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    CYNTHIA NIXON: In 2006, "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40. She became an ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
    Craig Blankenhorn | Craig Blankenhorn
  • People Robin Roberts
    ROBIN ROBERTS: In 2007 at age 46, "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a lump during a self-exam. She underwent a lumpectomy and chemotherapy and made a full recovery, but she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which was thought to have been a result of radiation from her treatment. Be the Match Registry, a nonprofit run by the National Marrow Donor Program, experienced an 1,800 percent spike in donors the day Roberts announced her diagnosis of MDS. She continued as a host on "GMA" throughout her illness and chemotherapy to raise awareness and hope for a cure.
    Ida Mae Astute | AP
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    CHRISTINA APPLEGATE: In 2008, then-36-year-old "Up All Night" actress Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her recovery, Applegate founded Right Action for Women, an organization that helps raise awareness and fund screenings for uninsured women.
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    KATHY BATES: In 2012, actress Kathy Bates, then 64, revealed that she had a double masectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer that year. Bates also had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003. She has appeared as a spokeswoman for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance in a series of public service announcements.
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    VALERIE HARPER: In March, Valerie Harper was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The 73-year-old actress, best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” has been a vocal advocate of disease awareness ever since.
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