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Why celebrities speaking about their breast cancer experiences has a 'huge impact'

Celebs can also help remove the stigma associated with cancer


olivia charity piece© Photo: Getty Images
Lily Waddell
Premium Content Editor
October 10, 2022
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Stars speaking out about their previous experiences with breast cancer can have a "huge impact". Olivia Newton-John, Kylie Minogue, Rita Wilson, Maggie Smith and Jennifer Saunders have joined a whole galaxy of stars who have shared their own personal experiences with breast cancer.

EXCLUSIVE: Remembering Olivia Newton-John - Her family, Dolly Parton, Sir Cliff and more share memories

Not only does it raise awareness but celebrities who choose to speak out about their own diagnosis can also help remove the stigma associated with cancer. In our Breast Cancer Awareness Month special, HELLO! spoke to Cancer Research UK about why celebrities telling their stories can make a difference...

Information nurse at Cancer Research UK, Julia Frater, said: "It can have a huge impact when celebrities diagnosed with cancer choose to speak about their experiences publicly. Beyond raising awareness, their actions can remove some of the stigma associated with cancer and can help people better understand the importance of early cancer detection."

For speaking so publicly about her own diagnosis, Olivia Newton-John has been hailed as a "notable inspiration to many" by Cancer Research UK.

WATCH: Beautiful tributes for Olivia Newton-John from her family and friends

The Grease actress sadly died aged 73 at her home in California, 30 years after her initial breast cancer diagnosis. She leaves behind an amazing legacy including the hospital she set up - the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

Head of health information at Cancer Research UK, Dr Julie Sharp, said: "We were deeply saddened to hear about the death of Olivia Newton-John, who has done so much work to raise awareness of breast cancer and contributed to ongoing research.

READ: Elizabeth Hurley reveals enormous sadness over grandmother’s breast cancer battle

REVEALED: Olivia Newton-John’s niece Tottie Goldsmith makes special promise to her in moving letter

"The singer and actress spent years raising money to fund cancer research and was a notable inspiration to many. High profile cancer cases such as Olivia’s often act as a prompt to encourage people to find out more or think about their own health.

"Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, so it’s important to get any unusual changes to your breasts or nipples checked out by your doctor."

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Cancer Research UK knows the difference celebrities can make first hand after working closely with BBC journalist and broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire following her 2015 diagnosis.

Speaking about their connection with Victoria, Julia said: "Her work to bring awareness and attention to breast cancer has emphasised the significance of early detection, which means treatment is more likely to be successful, and we’re incredibly grateful for her support."

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