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.
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.
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.
Valerie Harper says of her cancer: "I don't think of dying. I think of being here now."