Our favourite celebrities are always on screen with their ever widening smiles, perfect outfits, quirky replies to the journalists and next to perfect pictures. Their smiles never waiver even for a second on screen but each one of them is facing their own set of problems and dilemmas.
Cancer can affect any part of the body, can be cured and can return too. Nothing fears us and leaves us with hopelessness as much as cancer does. A battle against cancer is not just physical but mental and emotional too. Most of the time symptoms of cancer are not visible until the last stage.
Here are some women celebrities who are cancer survivors-
● Manisha Koirala
Manisha is a Nepali who worked in Indian Cinema. She has worked with actors like Amir Khan in the movie ‘Mann’, SRK and Preity Zinta in ‘Dil Se’ and most recently with Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor in ‘Sanju’.
She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in 2012. She has fully recovered now and has taken to social media to bring attention to this issue. She has a book “Healed: How Cancer Gave Me A New Life” where she describes how her treatment went on in the US. She has given TED Talks and believes cancer gave her the insight to look in her life and better it in various aspects.
● Sonali Bendre
Sonali Bendre was diagnosed with Metastatic Cancer. When her report came back, the doctor said there was a 30% chance of removing the cancer completely. But she remained positive and battled cancer. After 6 months of treatment, she came back from the US with her hair shaved. As an actress, her appearance is a big deal for her and her career, but she embraced all those changes elegantly.
● Sofia Vergara
The ever happy and cheerful Sofia was the highest paid actress for seven consecutive years. Vergara survived Thyroid cancer when she was in her 20s. She kept this a secret for most of her life. One cannot imagine the extroverted and quirky Sofia to go through cancer at such a young age.
● Tahira Kashyap
Tahira Kashyap is a writer, professor and theatre director. She is the wife of Ayushmann Khurana. In 2018, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has talked about her journey in an audio show called “My Ex-Breast”. She claims talking about it in all details was hard as it brought out unfiltered honesty. She feels even though she comes from a privileged background and received a high education, she didn’t know anything about it and how to deal with it. She is on a mission to spread awareness for this very reason.
She takes pride in the fact that she has broken down beauty standards at her home, for her parents, her son and husband. It has become very normal for his son to see balds and not raise an eyebrow.
● Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith, one of the most versatile actors , has battled breast cancer. While she was working in Harry Potter, her treatment was on-going. She has been in the film industry for a very long time. She describes the treatment as “It was hideous . . . not so good,” she says. She said,“ chemotherapy was very peculiar, something that makes you feel much worse than the cancer itself, a very nasty thing. I used to go for treatment on my own, and nearly everybody else was with somebody. I wouldn’t have liked that. Why would you want to make anybody sit in those places?” She lost hair and used to wear wigs during the shoot. She said it was awful and she looked like a boiled egg and would have been relieved to die at this point of time.
● Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova is a former Czech American tennis player and is now a coach. She is considered the greatest player of all times, winning various competitions and titles to herself. She was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the earliest form of breast cancer.
She had always led a healthy lifestyle and so she was shocked to hear the news. She skipped taking her mammography for 4 years and when she did take it she was diagnosed. It came as a shock for her.
She admits she was physically fine but emotionally, she was a wreck. Her emotions took her physical strength out.
Two weeks after her lumpectomy, she played for a tennis fundraiser and rode bike for 25 miles in a relay.
Navratilova is an example of how one could lead the healthiest lifestyle ever and still get cancer. All those people who neglect their regular tests saying they eat healthy and live healthy are equally prone to get it as the other person.
● Wanda Sykes
Wanda Sykes is an actress and comedian. Her wicked sense of humor steals the show and has won awards for the same. She went for a breast reduction surgery and it was during this surgery the surgeons found DCIS [Ductal Carcinoma In Situ] in her left breast. Her family has a history of this disease. She had both her breasts removed to avoid recurrence of this.
● Marcia Cross
Marcia Cross is an American actress who has appeared in several daytime soap operas. She was diagnosed with Anal Cancer in 2017. She didn’t want to talk about being an anal cancer survivor but move on with her life and career but then she saw people were unaware, scared and ashamed. She realized she had to do everything in her power to let people know that they were not alone in this. Her diagnosis doesn’t scare or embarrass her and says “For whatever reason, I don’t have any shame about that. I’m a big fan of the anus … I just have a lot of respect for this tiny, little two inches that makes our lives livable and pleasant,” she said.
● Fran Drescher
Fran Drescher is an actress and was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2000. It was after 2 years of regular observation that the cancer was detected. She underwent surgery soon and came out of it stronger than ever. She later wrote the book “Cancer Schmancer” in 2002 about her journey.
Cancer comes to the unfit and the healthiest, the young and the old, the poor and the rich, at any stage of life. All we can do is adopt a healthy lifestyle and mindset. Keep ourselves aware and go for the regular check-ups. An early detection can save so much of your time, energy and money. But if it happens, one must remain courageous to deal with it and hopefully will be able to overcome with all grace and positivity. We must also be supportive and helpful to the people who are struggling with it and make it bearable for those going on with their regular life in spite of battling cancer.