October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. However, there are more than 100 types of cancer (and we just do not have enough months to spotlight all of them).
Still, everyday people and the rich and famous fight the c-word each day, each month, each year. Some of the notable celebrities with cancer include:
Actress Farrah Fawcett
Actress Audrey Hepburn, sports caster Stuart Scott
Bile Duct Cancer
Football player Walter Payton
Singer Frank Sinatra
TV personality Ed McMahon, basketball coach Jim Valvano
Musician George Harrison, politician John McCain, actress Kate Walsh, actor Mark Ruffalo
Miss Universe 1996 Alicia Machado, TV personality Amy Robach, former First Lady Betty Ford, actress Brigitte Bardot, actress Cynthia Nixon figure skater Dorothy Hamill, singer Gladys Knight, actress Jane Fonda, journalist Joan Lunden, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, singer Olivia Newton-John, actor Richard Roundtree, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, singer Sheryl Crow, comedian Wanda Sykes
TV personality Erin Andrews and actress Marissa Jaret-Winokur
Baseball player Darryl Strawberry, singer Eartha Kitt, actress Elizabeth Montgomery, actor Jackie Gleason, President Ronald Reagan, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, football coach Vince Lombardi
Painter Bob Ross, football player Eric Berry, hockey player Mario Lemieux, actor Michael C. Hall
Wrestler Jim “Hacksaw” Duggan, former Secretary of State Warren Christopher
Basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, actor Ken Watanabe, businessman Sam Walton
Singer David Bowie, musician Gregg Allman, boxer “Smokin’ Joe” Frazier
Musician Dean Martin, actor Desi Arnaz, journalist Harry Reasoner, actor Paul Newman, journalist Peter Jennings, musician Rosemary Clooney, actress Valerie Harper, animator Walt Disney, actor Yul Brynner
Baseball player Anthony Rizzo, musician Joey Ramone, actor Laurence “Mr. T” Tureaud
Actor Peter Boyle, journalist Tom Brokaw
Actress Brittany Daniel, actor Gene Wilder, former First Lady Jackie Kennedy
Oral, Head and Neck Cancers
Baseball player Tony Gwyn, actor Humphrey Bogart, football player Jim Kelly, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, President Ulysses S. Grant, baseball player “Babe” Ruth
Actor Bob Denver, actor Dustin Hoffman, actress Erin Moran, musician Levon Helm, actor Miguel Ferrer
Actor Michael Douglass, musician Peter Tork, actor Val Kilmer
Baseball player Brett Butler
Salivary Gland Cancer
Film critic Roger Ebert
Research activist Terry Fox
Actor Robert Urich
Actress Carol Channing, actress Cobie Smulders, actress Gilda Radner, actress Kathy Bates
Actor Alan Rickman, TV personality Alex Trebek, singer Luciano Pavarotti, actor, Michael Landon, actor Patrick Swayze, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
Actor Ben Stiller, musician Bill Wyman, politician Colin Powell, actor Dennis Hopper, singer Harry Belafonte, actor Jerry Orbach, TV personality Larry King, activist Nelson Mandela, actor Roger Moore, actor Robert de Niro, actor Robert Guillame, actor Ryan O’Neal, actor Tommy Chong
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Actress Melanie Griffith, actor Hugh Jackman, actress Elizabeth Taylor
Musician Bob Marley, actress Cybill Shepherd, President Jimmy Carter
Actor Steve McQueen
TV personality Fred “Mr. Rogers” Rogers, designer Gloria Vanderbilt, director Sydney Pollack
Athlete Lance Armstrong, figure skater Scott Hamilton, actor Tom Greene
Actress Brooke Burke, musician Rod Stewart, actress Sofia Vergara
Actress Ann Bancroft, actress Fran Drescher, journalist Gwen Ifill, radio host Robin Quivers
Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.
When cancer develops, however, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed.
Many cancers form solid tumors, which are masses of tissue. Cancers of the blood, such as leukemias, generally do not form solid tumors.
Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can spread into nearby tissues and organs. In addition, as these tumors grow, some cancer cells can break off and travel to distant places in the body (metastasize) through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor.
Unlike malignant tumors, benign tumors do not spread into nearby tissues. Benign tumors can sometimes be quite large, however. When removed, they usually don’t grow back, whereas malignant tumors sometimes do. Unlike most benign tumors elsewhere in the body, benign brain tumors can be life threatening.
Screening – checking for cancer (or for abnormal cells that may become cancer) – can help doctors find and treat several types of cancer early, before they cause symptoms. Early detection is important because when abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread and be harder to treat.