Mystery:Young Hollywood Breast Cancer Victims

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Hollywood actresses are much more likely to get breast cancer than the average American woman. "According to the National Cancer Institute, most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over 50 years old, and the average age at diagnosis is 64." [1]

In the Hollywood culture, however, which includes singers, actresses, and other performers from around the world, there have been many tragic cases of breast cancer at far younger ages than expected.

Contents

Examples

Age 20-29

According to the National Cancer Institute, a woman has a 1 in 2,525 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer by age 30.[2]

  • Australian soap opera star Belinda Emmett, who played in "Home and Away," was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 24, in 1998. She died of secondary bone cancer in 2006. [3]
  • American singer Minnie Riperton was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28. Riperton, the mother of two children, was diagnosed in 1976 and died in 1979. [4]


Age 30-39

According to the National Cancer Institute, a woman has a 1 in 233 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer from age 30 through age 39.[5]

  • Colombian-American singer Soraya was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, at age 31.[6] Her mother, grandmother, and maternal aunt all died of breast cancer. [7] She died of breast cancer in 2006 at age 37. [8]
  • Aisha Bicknell, daughter of British actress Rita Tushingham, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33 in 2005. [9]
  • Puerto Rican actress Adamari López was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33 in 2005. [10]
  • American singer Anastacia was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34 in 2003. [11]
  • American actress Ann Jillian was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35, in 1985. She had her first child in 1992. [12]
  • British actress Amanda Mealing was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35 in 2002. She is the mother of two sons, born in 1999 and 2002. [13]
  • American actress Christina Applegate was diagnosed at age 36, in 2008. [14]
  • Australian pop star Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36, in 2005. [15]
  • American actress Kate Jackson was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39,[Citation Needed] in 1987.[16]
  • American actress Jill Eikenberry was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39.[Citation Needed]
  • American actress Danitra Vance died of breast cancer in 1994, at age 40. [17]
  • Mexican-American singer Lhasa de Sela died of the disease in 2010 at the age of 37 [18]

Age 40-49

According to the National Cancer Institute, a woman has a 1 in 69 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer from age 40 through age 49.[19] For the 40-44 age group, the odds are probably less than 1 in 100, but there are many examples below from Hollywood.

  • American actress Cynthia Nixon was diagnosed with breast cancer at about age 40, in about 2006. [20] She is the mother of two, having given birth to a daughter in 1996, and a son in 2002. [21]
  • American actress Edie Falco, born in 1963, was treated for breast cancer in 2004. [22]
  • American singer Melissa Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 43, in 2004.[23]
  • American actress Maura Tierney was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 44, in 2009, and underwent surgery.[24]
  • Norwegian actress and nude model Julie Ege, born in 1943, was successfully treated for breast cancer in 1986. She died in 2008 of lung cancer. [25]
  • American actress Shirley Temple, born in 1928, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972, at about age 44. She was the first celebrity to go public with the diagnosis. [26] She had three children, a daughter born in 1948, a son born in 1952, and a daughter born in 1954. [27]
  • English-born, Australian-bred singer Olivia Newton-John, born in 1948, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 44.[23] She gave birth to a daughter in 1986. [28]
  • American singer Sheryl Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 44. She announced her diagnosis in 2006. [29]
  • American actress Oni Faida Lampley was diagnosed with breast cancer at about age 46, in 1996. [30]

Age 50-59

According to the National Cancer Institute, a woman has a 1 in 38 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer from age 50 through age 59.[31]

  • American singer Carly Simon was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, at age 52. [32] She was married to James Taylor from 1972 to 1983, and they had two chldren. [33] She breastfed her son Ben for three-and-a-half years. [34]

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Risk by age

Breast cancer may occur at any age, though the risk of breast cancer increases with age. The average woman at age 30 years has one chance in 280 of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years. This chance increases to one in 70 for a woman aged 40 years, and to one in 40 at age 50 years. A 60-year-old woman has a one in 30 chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years. [35]

Between ages 20 and 24, only 1.3 in 100,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.[36]

Here is the NCI's published levels of risk by age in the United States (the risk is lower in other countries):[37]

By age 30: 1 in 2,525
By age 35: 1 in 622
By age 40: 1 in 217
By age 45: 1 in 93
By age 50: 1 in 50
By age 55: 1 in 33
By age 60: 1 in 24
By age 65: 1 in 17
By age 70: 1 in 14
By age 75: 1 in 11
By age 80: 1 in 10
By age 85: 1 in 9
Ever: 1 in 8 (more accurately, 1 in 7.5 in the U.S.)

Analysis

Personal health is generally kept confidential, and there are financial reasons for one not to publicize his or her health problems. The disclosure can cause a loss in jobs or income. This is particularly true for Hollywood stars who rely on attractiveness and sex appeal. Michael J. Fox, for example, understandably kept his Parkinson's disease confidential for as long as he could.

But cancellation of appearances for health reasons begs explanations, and the population of Hollywood stars likely to disclose medical conditions will roughly be the size of those who are active in appearances, shows, movies, etc.

A rough estimate of this population is as follows. In the music world, perhaps there have been 50 women who are active, well-known performers willing to disclose a diagnosis of breast cancer. In the television and movie industry, perhaps there are 450 who fall into that category. The total population from which the above names are drawn is perhaps 500, depending on age.

The list of breast cancers above will grow, but already it is plainly way above the expected occurrence of the disease. For example, there are likely no more than 500 Hollywood performers under age 30 who would publicly disclose a condition of breast cancer[Citation Needed], yet 2 developed breast cancer. But The typical incidence of that disease is only 2 out of 5000. The incidence in Hollywood appears to be more than 10 times that of the general population. If the population from which the above sample is drawn is twice as high, the incidence in Hollywood would still be more than 5 times the rate in the general population.

There are likely no more than 1000 in the population of Hollywood types under age 35 who would have to publicly disclose breast cancer. The list above includes 8 cases (and growing) since 1979. The expected rate is that only 1.6 out of 1000 women will develop breast cancer by age 35.

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References

  1. http://breastcancer.lifetips.com/cat/61849/breast-cancer-diagnosis/
  2. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Breast Cancer & Minority Women [1]
  3. Home and Away actress dies of breast cancer [2]
  4. IMDb: Minnie Riperton[3]
  5. National Cancer Institute, Fact Sheet: Probability of Breast Cancer in American Women[4] "These probabilities are averages for the whole population. An individual woman's breast cancer risk may be higher or lower, depending on a number of factors, including her family history, reproductive history, race/ethnicity, and other factors that are not yet fully understood. To calculate an individual's estimated risk, see the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool at http://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/ on the Internet."
  6. Colombian-American singer Soraya dies [5]
  7. Singer-Songwriter, Soraya, Offers Message Of Hope To Women With Breast Cancer[6]
  8. Colombian-American singer Soraya dies [7]
  9. The knack of coping with cancer [8] There is no history of breast cancer in the family, and Aisha knows she was unlucky to develop the disease at her age. The risk of being diagnosed with it in your thirties is relatively small - only 20 per cent of new cases are aged under 50. Up to the age of 30, the chance of developing it is one in 1,900 women. Aisha refuses to consider the statistics. She is focused on a complete recovery.
  10. IMDb: Biography for Adamari López [9]
  11. The Anastacia Fund[10]
  12. Ann Jillian - Inspiration[11]
  13. Holby TV: Amanda Mealing [12]
  14. US star Applegate fighting cancer [13] Applegate's publicist said she had benefited from early detection through an MRI ordered by her doctor.
  15. [14]
  16. People Magazine, Angel Ever After, by Susan Schindehette, May 11, 1992, Vol. 37, No. 18 [15]
  17. IMDb: Biography for Danitra Vance [16]
  18. http://lhasadesela.com/lhasa_de_sela/menu.php?lang=en
  19. National Cancer Institute, Fact Sheet: Probability of Breast Cancer in American Women[17]
  20. Cynthia Nixon Had Breast Cancer And Kept It To Herself [18]
  21. IMDb: Biography for Cynthia Nixon [19]
  22. IMDb: Biography for Edie Falco [20]
  23. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named abc
  24. http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=11301901
  25. IMDb: Biography for Julie Ege [21]
  26. Shirley Temple Biography part 3 (1950 - present)[22]
  27. IMDb: Biography for Shirley Temple [23]
  28. IMDb: Biography for Olivia Newton-John [24]
  29. Sheryl Crow Battles Breast Cancer [25]
  30. Black Biography: Oni Faida Lampley [26]
  31. National Cancer Institute, Fact Sheet: Probability of Breast Cancer in American Women[27]
  32. [Carly Simon fighting breast cancer[28]
  33. IMDb: Biography for Carly Simon [29]
  34. http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/article/simon%20i%20didnt%20need%20my%20breast%20anymore_1068633
  35. Breast Cancer Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment on eMedicineHealth.com [30]
  36. http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071025/LIFESTYLE03/710250424
  37. http://www.mdanderson.org/topics/ethnicity/display.cfm?id=ffcc95a9-a03d-11d4-80fa00508b603a14&method=displayfull&pn=c1128f6f-4656-410d-96fa274b12a51d9d
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