4 Famous Women with Breast Cancer

Not everyone talks about their cancer experience: some prefer to share the details with close family and friends only. But what happens when famous people get cancer and they are still expected to continue their celebrity lives after their diagnosis? These four women were in the limelight while undergoing treatment for the disease:

Dame Maggie Smith
This well-known British actress, famous for her characters in "Downton Abbey," the "Harry Potter" series and more, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at age 73. Smith was filming for "Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince" while undergoing chemotherapy. The actress had a benign tumor several years before the diagnosis and told The Telegraph that she assumed the second lump would be as well. Smith has continued acting on in films since her diagnosis.

Gloria Steinem
​Women's rights activist and co-founder of "Ms. Magazine," Gloria Steinem is a force of nature, but when she was diagnosed with breast cancer just after turning 50 years old she was forced to temporarily take a break from traveling and activism. Steinem retreated from the public eye to have surgery and undergo treatment. Today, at age 80, she is still championing women's rights and, according to Biography.com has no plans of ever retiring.

Judy Blume
Famous author of "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in 2012. According to her blog, Blume doesn't eat red meat or smoke and exercises daily, so she was shocked to learn her healthy lifestyle didn't make her immune to cancer. The author underwent a mastectomy to remove the breast with the dangerous lump. Blume attributes her recovery to knowledgeable doctors who were persistent and went beyond the usual annual mammogram tests because of her dense breasts.

Kathy Bates
This popular actress, famous for her parts in "Titanic" and "American Horror Story," has beaten cancer twice. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003 and breast cancer in 2012. She opted for a double mastectomy and did not have to have chemotherapy or radiation treatments. She told People that cancer runs rampant in her family, and even though she tested negative for genetic mutations that predispose you to cancer, she still got the disease. Two years later, at age 65, the actress is still acting and starring in films and TV shows.

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