Breast cancer can affect anyone regardless of race, gender or class. It is the most common form of cancer among women in the United States, according to Although men are diagnosed at significantly lower rates, more than 2,500 are expected to be impacted by breast cancer in 2018, reports

It is important for individuals to know and understand the factors that could increase the risk of the disease, including age, family history and the inherited changes of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which produce tumor suppressor proteins.

Women should regularly self-examine their breasts and get a yearly mammogram after the age of 45. They should also monitor any pain or change in the size/shape of their chest. Regardless of the risk factors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most people who get breast cancer have none of the precursors.

Nearly 1 million women are expected to die from breast cancer in 2018. At the start of the year, more than 3.1 million women in the U.S. had a history of breast cancer, including those being treated and who have survived the disease.

During October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, honors prominent figures who have survived their battle with the disease, including Good Morning America host Robin Roberts and actor Richard Roundtree, best known for his role as Shaft.

Robin Roberts

Roberts was diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer in 2007.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

In September 2017, the actress announced on Twitter her breast cancer diagnosis, one day after she won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the HBO series Veep.

Wanda Sykes

The comedian revealed she was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, a noninvasive “stage zero breast cancer” during a September 2011 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Sykes had a bilateral mastectomy to lower her risks of developing an invasive form of the disease.

Vanessa Bell Calloway

The actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. She shared her survivor’s journey with EBONY in 2015.


Shannen Doherty

The 90210 star was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. The disease spread to her lymph nodes and the actress had a single mastectomy in May 2016. One year later she announced that her cancer was in remission.

Lisa Vidal

The Being Mary Jane actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2016, though a mammogram didn’t detect the disease. Vidal’s doctor noticed the tumor using an ultrasound. Her sister and mother also have breast cancer.

Cynthia Nixon

The Sex and the City star was diagnosed with breast cancer during a routine mammogram in 2006. She kept her illness private until two years later during an interview with Good Morning America, and became an activist for the disease.

Richard Roundtree

The Shaft star was diagnosed with male breast cancer in 1993. He underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy as a treatment for disease, which rarely occurs in men.