10 Famous Women Who Bravely Underwent Mastectomies

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10 Famous Women Who Bravely Underwent Mastectomies
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When Angelina Jolie announced in 2013 that she underwent a double mastectomy, a surgical procedure in which all breast tissue is removed to prevent or treat breast cancer, she received an outpouring of support from fans and A-listers who commended her on her brave decision. Jolie’s choice to publicly come out about her mastectomies was also a reminder that she isn’t alone.

MORE: ‘I Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 33… While Pregnant’

According to a study by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the number of women who have had a double mastectomy has increased by 150 percent. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to shine a light on how many women make the life-altering decision of removing one or both their breasts, we’re spotlighting 10 celebrities who bravely underwent mastectomies, ahead.

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Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie

At 37 years old, after losing her mom to ovarian cancer and discovering that she had the BRCA1 gene mutation, Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy, followed by breast reconstructive surgery. In 2013, Jolie went public with her decision in an essay for The New York Times, in which she said her mastectomies made her feel "empowered."

"Life comes with many challenges," she wrote. "The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of."

Photo: Getty Images
Christina Applegate
Christina Applegate

After being diagnosed with breast cancer at 36 years old in 2008, Christina Applegate first underwent a lumpectomy. Upon learning that she was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene mutation, she removed both her breasts in a double mastectomy. Later, she opened up about the process to Oprah.  It can be very painful," she said. "It's also a part of you that's gone, so you go through a grieving process."

Photo: Getty Images
Kathy Bates
Kathy Bates

In 2012, four years after beating her battle with ovarian cancer, Kathy Bates was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing a double mastectomy, the Academy Award winner opened up about why she decisioned to not receive reconstructive surgery.

"I've joined the ranks of women who are going flat, as they say," she told WebMD. "I don't have breasts—so why do I have to pretend like I do? That stuff isn't important. I'm just grateful to have been born at a time when the research made it possible for me to survive. I feel so incredibly lucky to be alive."

Photo: Getty Images
Wanda Sykes
Wanda Sykes

After being diagnosed with ductal cancer in situ (commonly known as "stage zero" breast cancer) in 2011, Wanda Sykes, who was 47 at the time, opted for a double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery soon after. Though the procedure wasn't necessary, Sykes revealed that she had a long history of breast cancer in her family, and didn't want to live life with the added pressure. "I had both breasts removed, because now I have zero chance of having breast cancer," she told Ellen DeGeneres.

Photo: Getty Images
Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John

Shortly after her father died in 1992, Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer at 44 years old. After undergoing a partial mastectomy and breast construction, the "Grease" actress revealed on the website for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre that she is officially cancer-free.

"It's been a long journey, but now I am cancer-free. The whole experience has given me so much understanding and compassion," she wrote.

Photo: Getty Images
Rita Wilson
Rita Wilson

In 2015, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Rita Wilson underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. In an interview with People, the actress admitted that she had to take a leave of absence from her play, Fish in the Dark, to recover. During her recovery, Wilson also revealed that her husband, Tom Hanks, was by her side. 

“Last week, with my husband by my side, and with the love and support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma," Wilson said. "I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery. Why? Because I caught this early, have excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion.

Photo: Getty Images
Sharon Osbourne
Sharon Osbourne

At age 60, after discovering that she was at increased risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, Sharon Osbourne underwent a preventative double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in 2011. She opened up about the decision to Hello! magazine in which revealed that her past with colon cancer played a part in her choice.

"As soon as I found out I had the breast cancer gene, I thought, 'The odds are not in my favor,'" she said. "I've had cancer before, and I didn't want to live under that cloud. I decided to just take everything off, and had a double mastectomy."

Photo: Getty Images
Giuliana Rancic
Giuliana Rancic

Amid her battle with breast cancer at age 37, Giuliana Rancic underwent a double mastectomy in 2011, followed by breast reconstructive surgery. After Jolie's letter, the E! personality opened up about why she went public with her breast cancer battle.

"In helping other women, you end up helping yourself," she wrote in an essay for E! Online. "You end up being able to validate one of the most painful times in your life by realizing that maybe all the pain and the fear and the tears were worth it."

Photo: Getty Images
Hoda Kotb
Hoda Kotb

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, Hoda Kotb decided to undergo a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. She later wrote about the process TODAY in which she revealed that the decision gave her a new outlook on life.

"A funny thing happened as my body started to heal—my mind did as well," she wrote.. "The world just suddenly snapped into focus. Everything that was important became totally clear...My life after cancer is more courageous and more honest and fuller than my life before."

Photo: Getty Images
Sandra Lee
Sandra Lee

In May 2015, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, celebrity chef Sandra Lee Peoplerevealed that she underwent a double mastectomy. She opened up about her health to in 2016. “I’m getting back to me and it’s a really nice place to be,” she said. “I almost have all my energy back. I’m getting back into my life.”

Photo: Getty Images

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  • Angelina Jolie
  • Christina Applegate
  • Kathy Bates
  • Wanda Sykes
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • Rita Wilson
  • Sharon Osbourne
  • Giuliana Rancic
  • Hoda Kotb
  • Sandra Lee

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