Life is a rollercoaster ride with many ups and downs. Sometimes, the lowest point in the ride of life are diseases. Even if the disease is as minor as a cold, it somehow takes a toll on our mind and lives. These days, cancer has been the second leading cause of death globally.
According to World Health Organization, about 9.6 million people died of cancer in 2018. About 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer worldwide. As deadly as it sounds, cancer insanely weakens the hope of the victim. Every year we hear about many celebrities losing their lives to cancer and the loss continued this year too.
From Aretha Franklin to William Goldman and John McCain to George H.W. Bush, many famous figures passed away this year from cancer. But, we have heard of some cancer survivor stories. It is not completely incurable. Hope and strong will to fight for life can be of great help to the cancer victim. As Orison Swett Marden says,
"There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow."
1. Hugh Jackman
It seems, not even Wolverine is safe from cancer. But, much like his X-Men character, he has been able to beat the serious ailments. Jackman first found out he had basal cell carcinoma in 2013, when his wife said to get the mark on his nose checked.
Within a year, he had three surgeries to get the skin cancer removed from his nose. After surgery, Hugh has been asking his followers to wear sunscreen and get themselves checked from time to time. Although he may not have Wolverine's healing factor in real life, his story is certainly an inspiration for his followers.
2. Mark Ruffalo
Hulk is so powerful that he smashed his way through a brain tumor! Ruffalo, who is known for his role as Bruce Banner, had a fight outside the comic world with a brain tumor in 2001 and of course, he won! Ruffalo had a terrifying dream of having a tumor and got himself checked.
As it turned out, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in reality. At the time, he and his wife were expecting a baby, so, he battled the condition without letting anyone know. Although he struggled with partial face paralysis for 10 months after the treatment, he defeated the condition and got back to good health. The tumor has made him deaf in the left ear, but he is in sound health.
3. Michael C. Hall
A serial killer in Showtime crime drama Dexter, might not have been caught by the police yet, but Michael was once caught by cancer. In January 2010, Michael’s agent confirmed that he was going through treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
He chose not to make the news of his illness public and when his agent announced, he was already in remission. He underwent chemotherapy after filming of the show’s fourth season completed. Later, he said in an interview that he was so upset after learning about his cancer diagnosis at the age of 38 as his father also died of cancer at the age of 39.
Michael attended the 2010 Golden Globe Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards wearing a knitted cap over his bald head as he had lost his hair due to chemotherapy.
4. Sir Rod Stewart
British rock singer, Sir Rod Stewart is no ordinary man. He has fought cancer twice and is still alive and well, entertaining people with his raspy voice even at the age of 73. Sir Stewart had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2000.
Previously, it was reported that he was suffering from a benign vocal cord nodule. After undergoing surgery to get the cancer removed, he couldn’t even squeak a word and had to learn to sing all over again. But, despite all the odds, he regained his voice and is still singing.
Later in 2016, he was also diagnosed with enlarged prostate gland after experiencing lethargy. He kept the diagnosis a secret this time. He had benign prostatic hyperplasia and luckily, that did not require surgery. With all the battles he has had and won, he is certainly deserving of the knight title he was honored with in 2016.
Since beating the thyroid cancer, he had been actively raising funds for The City of Hope Foundation charity to help find cures for all forms of cancer, especially those affecting children.
5. Mandy Patinkin
This actor, who is known for his roles in Criminal Minds and Homeland, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003. He underwent prostatectomy and successfully beat the cancer. In 2005, he celebrated his first year of recovery by doing a 265-mile charity bike ride with his son, Isaac – the Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride: Cycling for Peace, Partnership & Environmental Protection. Currently living with a simple mantra “Be happy,” Patinkin says,
“I always appreciated my life, my wife, my kids, my music, the fact that I get to do what I love. But I took my life for granted. I would say I didn’t, but I did. I was kidding myself. And after cancer, every day, including this second while I am talking to you, is precious to me – every sunrise and sunset, every walk in the park, every visit with my children, every time I hold my wife, every time I get to perform.”
He proves cancer is not always a curse but sometimes a blessing in disguise.
6. Mr. T
American actor and retired professional wrestler Laurence Tureaud, better known as Mr. T, also wrestled with cancer and won. He was diagnosed with T Cell Lymphoma after he went for a checkup when he noticed a bump while removing a diamond earring.
He went through several years of chemotherapy from 1995 and will still sometimes have to take measures to fight abnormal cells in his body. In a recent interview, Mr. T said,
“Life is an endurance test. It’s not a fifty-yard sprint or a hundred-yard dash; it’s a marathon. So, like I said, I got to endure, endure the hardship”
and thanked lymphoma for giving his life a platform.
7. Christina Applegate
Applegate, from Married...with children, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. Luckily, the cancer was in an early stage. In August the same year, she was declared cancer-free after a double mastectomy though the cancer was found in only one breast.
As soon as she was diagnosed she decided to go into “take-care-of-business-mode” which included a change to a more healthy diet. She has an inherited genetic trait, a BRCA1 mutation, which can cause breast cancer. Her mother, Nancy Priddy, is also a breast-cancer survivor.
8. Angelina Jolie
From Lara Croft to Maleficent, Jolie has taken on every challenge she faces. Even cancer! Jolie announced that she inherited the BRCA1 gene in 2013 and had 87% risk of developing breast cancer. So, to prevent the risk, the actress underwent a preventative double mastectomy.
After lowering her chances of getting cancer, she had reconstructive surgery involving implants and allografts. In 2015, after knowing that her annual test results indicated the signs of early ovarian cancer, she underwent oophorectomy.
Due to the defective BRCA1 gene, she had 50% risk of developing ovarian cancer. Following mastectomy and oophorectomy, she also underwent hormone replacement therapy, but the surgery brought on early menopause. Cancer has hit very hard in Jolie’s family. Her mother Marcheline Bertrand also had breast cancer and passed away of ovarian cancer.
Her grandmother and aunt also died of ovarian cancer due to the same defective BRCA1 gene. Jolie has been very open about her diagnosis and operations in order to help women around the world, who are struggling with breast cancer. Her influence led to a "global and long-lasting" increase in BRCA gene testing throughout the US, UK, Europe and several Asian countries.
9. Sharon Osbourne
The heavy metal mom on MTV’s reality show, The Osbournes, Sharon has bravely fought against cancer. The 66-year-old was first diagnosed with colon cancer back in 2002. At the time, a foot-long section of her colon was taken out.
Sharon, who is credited for reviving her husband’s heavy metal career, had recovered fully from the cancer. In 2016, she decided to undergo a double mastectomy after finding out she carried the gene linked to breast cancer. While talking to People magazine, she said,
“I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer, but I had the gene and one of my breasts was in a really bad state because of the implant.”
10. Giuliana Rancic
Breast cancer is the most common cancer, which is impacting 2.1 million women each year. Giuliana Rancic is another woman, who survived breast cancer. She was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011, when she and her husband Bill Rancic were trying out their third round of IVF.
She underwent double lumpectomy, followed by radiation and returned to work after a week. Later, she disclosed she had decided to undergo a bilateral mastectomy. She was considered cancer free in a year and celebrated the sixth year of becoming cancer free this year.
Over the past few years, Rancic has spent a lot of time advocating for breast cancer awareness. Earlier, this year, she became a spokesperson for Not One Type, a campaign for changing the perception of breast cancer. For now, she promotes a healthy lifestyle and a healthy beauty routine as well.
Cancer is an extremely complex disease. It's classified into different types based on the unique characteristics of each tumor, including the subtype, size and lymph node status. Stay aware of any early symptoms like unusual outgrowth in any part of your body. Early stages of cancer can be cured if you fight against the illness with strong will as the above-mentioned celebrities are evidence.