It’s officially Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a designated time to secondary and honoring the one in eight American women currently battling the disease, as well as those who have lost their lives to it.
It’s been in the news lately. Katie Couric, celebrated journalist and founder of Katie Couric Media, shared on September 28 that she had been battling breast cancer since she was diagnosed in June. And her announcement came less than 2 months after the death of singer and breast cancer awareness activist Olivia Newton-John.
Newton-John had survived breast cancer twice, after her initial diagnosis in 1992 and again when it recurred in 2013, but she ultimately died when it returned once more in 2017 and spread to her lower back.
Every year, approximately 266,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer. And every year around 43,000 lose their lives because of it. Prominent women who have fought the disease, or still do, have used their platforms to spread knowledge and discuss the power of owning and sharing your stories.
Check out this list of motivational quotes from six breast cancer survivors whose stories and words of wisdom about the value of getting checked out, finding strength in others, and taking care of yourself have inspired us:
1. “To reap the benefits of modern medicine, we need to stay on top of our screening tests, advocate for ourselves, and make sure everyone has access to the diagnostic tools that could very well save their lives.”
in a mail About her diagnosis, Couric recounts how even she, a well-known cancer advocate, was 6 months late scheduling her annual mammogram. But she has also focused her attention on the inequities of breast cancer research and treatment to women of color. With a 40% higher death rate for women of color with breast cancer, Couric and organizations like Black Women’s Health Imperative (who teamed up with Mary J. Blige, who lost her aunt to breast cancer) are promoting research and awareness of the disease for black women in particular.
2. “When I hear women say they got their first mammogram or get more regular breast checks because of my story, I am reminded that sharing [it] it was absolutely the right decision.”
in a personal essay with E! Onlinejournalist and entrepreneur Giuliana Rancic shares her journey to surviving breast cancer and how opening up has inspired other women to stay on their toes. She was diagnosed at age 36 – a relatively young age to develop the disease – during a routine mammogram for IVF process treatments. She eventually had a double mastectomy and had to take medication daily for 5 years, all while trying to start a family. She recalled not feeling like herself for a while, which is in large part why she launched “Fab-U-Wish,” a program that grants wishes to women going through breast cancer to that they can feel like themselves.yes even for a moment.”
3. “It’s a gift, in a way, to have a kind of goal. And it is a goal that everyone can achieve.”
Actress Krysta Rodríguez was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 30 years old. remember in a interview with Playbill being thankful for her support team, her family, helping her achieve the ultimate goal: fighting this cancer and surviving. In fact, solidarity is crucial for Rodríguez, who is considered a “Warrior against breast cancer” while continuing to support breast cancer research and awareness. She recently hosted a benefit concert for ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis in New York City.
4. “Self-examination is the best thing you can do and it costs nothing. Self-examination is what saved me.”
Clea Shearer, co-founder of organization services company Home Edit, was diagnosed with breast cancer after she felt an unknown lump in her breast during a self-exam. Because she discovered her cancer through a self-examination, she said people magazine she hopes to alert women to always check themselves, in addition to regular exams. “If I can make my cancer have a purpose, [I want to] make people understand that if you feel something bad, you have to say something,” he said.
5. “I’m doing something real, something really worth doing. When I go to sleep at night, I think ‘I did something good today’ and I feel better about everything.”
Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates shared with Practical Pain Management.com that while she survived breast cancer after undergoing a double mastectomy in 2012, she later suffered from lymphedema, a common side effect of breast cancer surgery. It caused painful swelling in both arms, which affected her ability to use them for daily activities. Since then, she has been a strong advocate for lymphedema awareness, becoming the spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network and helping the organization raise thousands of dollars with events like the California Run/Walk to Fight Lymphedema and Lymphatic Diseases.
6. “If survival stories aren’t comforting, they will be in time. It’s okay to be selfish. Take a break. Those of us who have been through it know it’s about you, and that’s okay.”
Beloved “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts opened up to cancer connection about her diagnosis and subsequent survival from breast cancer in 2007. She shared his trip openly at GMA to raise awareness and reveal what his time fighting the disease has been like. Now, 15 years later, Roberts shared that his partner, Amber Laign, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2022. Roberts’ role as a survivor became a caregiver as he helps Laign fight what is, for her, a family battle. From both perspectives, you can understand the need for self-preservation and care.