One of the toughest things about cancer is the worry it induces. Regardless of its type, location or severity, cancer brings worry with it. However, thinking that you’re the only one suffering from the disease is one thing you can stop worrying about right now. You’re not on your own. In fact, it is estimated that some 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year (American Cancer Society, Inc., 2012).
What’s more, cancer can affect anybody, from the well-off to those struggling to get by. To give you some perspective, here are some of the celebrities that have recently been battling various forms of the disease and the cancer treatment they have elected to undergo.
KATHY BATES (Actress)
Best known for her Oscar-winning performance as deranged fan Annie Wilkes in the 1990 film Misery, Bates has had a tough time of it when it comes to cancer. The actress was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003, a disease that she successfully defeated. Earlier this year it was reported that Bates was also stricken with breast cancer.
Cancer treatment: Bates underwent a double mastectomy to remove the breast cancer and is reported to be all clear.
HUGO CHAVEZ (President of Venezuela)
Incumbent Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has a history of cancer that dates back to June 2011. The premier has undergone four separate surgeries since that date to remove areas of cancer within the pelvic region, although no specific cancer type has been released to the public.
Cancer treatment: Chavez underwent surgery as recent as Dec. 2012, to remove cancerous tissues found in the pelvic region.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS (Actor)
Douglas was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer in Aug. 2010, following extended periods of alcohol abuse and stress. Stage IV is the most severe form of cancer.
Cancer treatment: Douglas underwent courses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to combat the cancer, which caused him to lose a lot of weight. After being given the all clear early in 2011, Douglas was also put on a special weight-gain diet. Due to the nature of throat cancer, which commonly returns, Douglas has frequent checkups to ensure an early diagnosis.
JENNIFER GREY (Actress)
Whilst preparing for spinal surgery, a neurologist noticed that Grey – the star of hit movie Dirty Dancing – had a lump on her neck. This was subsequently diagnosed as thyroid cancer. Grey later admitted to having noticed the lump but had done nothing about it.
Cancer treatment: The lump was removed surgically, and Grey given the all clear. The story though acts as a reminder than any lump should be checked as soon as possible.
IAN MCKELLEN (Actor)
Sir Ian McKellen disclosed recently that he had been suffering from prostate cancer for between six and seven years. The Hobbit actor has undertaken regular checks to monitor the growth of the cancer.
Cancer treatment: McKellen has yet to choose to undergo treatment for the cancer. This is a common move for those suffering from this form of the disease as it is a slow-growing cancer, which means risks can be carefully evaluated. Prostate cancer treatment regularly includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
SHARON OSBOURNE (TV personality)
Like Kathy Bates, Sharon Osbourne – the wife of Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne – has had a tough time with cancer. In 2002 the TV star was diagnosed with colon cancer and only given a 33 percent chance of survival. Always strong in spirit, Osbourne did indeed beat the colon cancer through a course of chemotherapy. In 2012, Osbourne learned that she has a specific gene known to increase the risk of developing cancer.
Cancer treatment: Not wishing to run the risk of developing a second cancer, Osbourne underwent a double mastectomy in late 2012, limiting the possibility of the cancer returning.
Celebrities may be treated like idols but they’re as susceptible to cancer as you or I. What we can take from this list though is that cancer is not uncommon, that it can affect anybody, and most of all, it is vital that you undertake regular checkups.
Early diagnosis is the best form of treatment, making a visit to your doctor – especially if you are fall into a demographic group that is more vulnerable to cancer – not just advisable but essential if you even remotely suspect that you may have the symptoms of cancer.