Cancer has touched most people, whether contending with it ourselves or supporting loved ones who face their own cancer journey. It’s no surprise that many celebrities have also struggled with cancer diagnoses of their own. In the face of these problems, however, they’ve often used their fame to help extend awareness and inspire others along the way.
Sofia Vergara, perhaps best known for her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family, was just 28 years old, and a single mom, when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She underwent a thyroidectomy followed by radioactive iodine therapy. Now, she remains cancer free but takes daily thyroid medication and has her thyroid levels regularly checked. Sofia has partnered with the “Follow the Script” campaign to educate others about her journey and help raise awareness for diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism.
Most people know Rod Stewart as one of history’s most popular rock artists. What many may not know is the British rock superstar has also had his own journey with cancer—specifically, papillary thyroid carcinoma. He reflected on his diagnosis, saying “As anyone who has been through this experience knows, when you are so close to something that is potentially life-threatening, you tend to get your life in perspective.” In 2016, Stewart was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which he successfully recovered from after surgery and radiation. It was by no means easy, but Stewart says that adopting a positive attitude again helped him. His second diagnosis further spurred him to advocate for early screening of cancer, and he has continued to be heavily involved in philanthropic efforts to promote research and quality of life for cancer patients.
Celebrities with Non-malignant Thyroid Disease
- Gigi Hadid
- Oprah Winfrey
- Hilary Clinton
- Bernie Sanders
- Gina Rodriguez
- Kim Cattrall
- Zoe Saldana
- Jillian Michaels
- Wendy Williams (Graves’ Disease)
Shortly after Hip-hop star Missy Elliott’s previous album was released in 2005, she began to suffer from severe symptoms affecting her “motor skills, followed by dizzy spells, lumps in her throat, mood swings, hair loss, a fast heart rate and bulging eyes.” Doctors diagnosed her with Graves’ Disease in 2008, an autoimmune illness that affects the thyroid and causes hyperthyroidism. Missy’s doctors treated her with radiation therapy and medication. Since her treatment, she has reported feeling “much better.” In fact, in 2019 Missy released a new album entitled Iconology. She has continued to manage her condition mostly through diet and exercise.
Sia (Graves’ Disease)
Sia, a Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter who is best known for her geometrical wig with bangs that covers her eyes, was diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 2010. She received her diagnosis after cancelling tour dates, as she began to feel extremely lethargic and suffer from panic attacks. She notes that stress may have triggered the onset of Graves’. She has been quite vocal on social media platforms such as Twitter, as well as in magazine interviews for the Rolling Stones, about the stress that led to her Graves’ disease diagnosis.