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Celebrity Cancer Survivors

Last updated on: April 29, 2010 09:58 IST

Celebrities who beat the Big C

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Sukanya Verma in Mumbai

In German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's words 'What does not kill makes you stronger.' Survivors of a lethal disease like cancer know this better than anyone else.

As does actress Lisa Ray. Ten months after the light-eyed star of Water and Kasoor had revealed her ongoing battle with the Big C, she only recently announced complete recovery from the malady.

Enjoying this 'rebirth', Ray is ready to take on new challenges and experiences with renewed vigour. Hollywood has quite a few of such inspiring, survival stories to share. A lowdown.

Kylie Minogue

Behind the ultra glamorous image of international pop artist Kylie Minogue is a woman who's been through hell and back.

The Australian sensation endured an 18-month-old battle against breast cancer before emerging winner. Her case is reported to have raised substantial awareness among young women a need for regular check-ups in wake of early detections.

Today, Kylie's back to her glitzy schedule. And when you look at her going Chiggy Wiggy with Bollywood's Akshay Kumar in Blue, it's hard to imagine the ordeal she's been through not too long ago.


Image: Kylie Minogue
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
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Christina Applegate

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Remember Amy, Jennifer Aniston's haughty, spoilt sister in TV sitcom Friends?

Yes, Christina Applegate, the star of shows like Married with Children and Samantha Who? was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2008.

Owing to gene-related complications, Applegate had to undergo double mastectomy before she could finally say 'cancer-free'.

Prompted by her own experiences, The Sweetest Thing star founded Right Action for Women, an initiative which provides financial assistance to high-risk women to get an MRI scan.


Image: Christina Applegate
Photographs: Danny Moloshok/Reuters
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Olivia Newton John

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Fondly remembered for her portrayal of Sandy Olsson in Grease opposite John Travolta, the four-time Grammy winning singer Olivia Newton John put up a brave front against breast cancer.

Once she was freed of the deadly ailment, John actively worked towards creating awareness raising funds and donating proceeds gathered by album sales for this particular cause through the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in her native Australia.


Image: Olivia Newton John

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Robert De Niro

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Not too many people know about Robert De Niro's unfortunate association with cancer.

After losing his father to the same, the Taxi Driver star got himself regularly tested as a precautionary measure.

Since the prostate cancer detection came in early, De Niro was rescued in time.

Incidentally, he won a law suit filed against him by an insurance company in the same regard. The firm accused De Niro of withholding information about his illness to claim cover.


Image: Robert De Niro
Photographs: David W Cerny/Reuters
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Rod Stewart

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The magical voice behind oldie goldies like Have I told you lately that I love you and Maggie May relived the greatest nightmare for any singer -- lump in the thyroid gland.

Early prognosis helped in cancer-free treatment. It wasn't easy though. Stewart could not sing for almost a year. But he didn't stop trying even when he spat blood.

Today he's making music and promoting City of Hope Foundation to help find a cure for all types of cancer.


Image: Rod Stewart
Photographs: Francisco Bonilla/Reuters
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Elizabeth Taylor

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Hollywood's golden actress holds an exceptionally dreadful health record -- multiple fractures, hip replacement, heart failure, brain tumour and skin cancer.

The 78-year-old legend who starred memorably in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Cleopatra was diagnosed with a curable form of basal cell carcinoma.

True to her indomitable spirit, she ensured cancer would be the one to bite dust.


Image: Elizabeth Taylor
Photographs: Chris Pizzello/Reuters
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Cynthia Nixon

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Best known for playing the hardboiled Miranda Hobbes in HBO's comedy series Sex and the City, Cynthia Nixon came out in the open about her cancer a couple of years ago.

Initially reluctant to talk about the same but with support in the form of girlfriend (now fiance) Christine Marinoni, Nixon changed her mind and divulged details of therapy and triumph.


Image: Cynthia Nixon
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
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Sheryl Crow

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Tomorrow never dies, she rendered in style.

Sheryl Crow lives by this motto. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, the singer who had just split with athlete boyfriend Lance Armstrong (a fellow cancer survivor) was in a stunned state of mind.

She began radiation therapy and adopted a take-it-as-it-comes attitude towards life.

It worked. She hasn't had any cause to worry, since.


Image: Sheryl Crow
Photographs: Fred Prouser/Reuters
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Gene Wilder

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From making chocolate to fighting cancer, Gene 'Willy Wonka' Wilder has had quite a crazy ride.

While his wife Gilda Radner fought a losing battle to ovarian cancer, Wilder dealt with lymphoma.

After Radner passed away, a recuperated Wilder became actively involved endorsing charitable organisations addressing the cause.


Image: Gene Wilder

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Kathy Bates

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Be it key roles or supporting, the genial-faced actress of films like Misery, Fried Green Tomatoes and About Schmidt makes quite an impression.

The Oscar-winner learned she has ovarian cancer sometime in 2003 but did make it public till 2009.

In remission since the past five years, Bates, as her Molly Brown in Titanic says 'shines up like a new penny.'


Image: Kathy Bates
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
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