13 Empowering Quotes By Survivors, In Honor Of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

"One important thing to know is you’re still the same person during it."

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of the month, we will be highlighting the stories of those affected, as well as the people who come to their aid and help bring awareness to the issue.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer might still be the most common form of cancer for women, but the chances of survival are significantly increasing thanks to early detection, better treatment, and those who spread awareness about cancer and the resources needed to help those going through it. It was recently reported by American Cancer Society that the mortality rate from breast cancer have dropped by 39 percent between 1989 and 2015.

Many breast cancer survivors are speaking out after battling the illness to bring awareness to the cause, to help find gentler, more effective treatments, and to inspire hope in those experiencing similar struggles. 

Below are 13 empowering quotes from breast cancer survivors in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


1. "I love pushing up this notion that I'm 'not supposed to be.' I spent a lot of my life trying to fit into boxes and trying to be some way for other people, but that moment was a staple moment for me. I don't need to be anything for anybody but me." - Ericka Hart

Ericka Hart is a breast cancer survivor who underwent a double mastectomy. In August 2016, images of her went viral after she decided to go topless while at the Afropunk Music Festival. She explained in an Allure video about dispelling beauty myths that you can have scars as nipples and still be sexy.

2. "I owe it to myself and my family to live to the fullest and enjoy every moment." - Lauren Kent

Kent is a breast cancer survivor after she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. For their #PinkPowerTODAY campaign, TODAY surprised her by inviting her to a dance lesson with The Radio City Rockettes. After the experience, she talked about embracing life.

3. "We aren't alone in the world. And we're more alike than not. We all live through some sort of burden or pain, and we are all beautiful, no matter what." - Dana Donofree

Donofree is the founder of AnaOno, a lingerie brand designed for women in various stages of breast cancer. Donofree was diagnosed with Infiltrative Ductal Carcinoma at 27, and founded the label out of "her own necessity and desire for pretty, sexy, beautiful lingerie." The brand's campaigns include real women as opposed to models to promote a body positive, loving message. After launching a campaign in November 2016 featuring women in various stages of breast cancer, Donofree spoke to A Plus about the campaign's mission and how she hoped it would resonate. 

4. "This experience has taught me to keep moving forward and never give up. Through my cancer, I learned how important family really is, and that we should enjoy every second of this life." - Chrissy Turner

At only 8 years old, Chrissy Turner was diagnosed with secretory breast carcinoma, a very rare form of breast cancer that affects approximately one in 1,000,000 people. She was the youngest person to have ever been seen with this type of cancer when she was diagnosed in 2015. After undergoing a mastectomy, Chrissy is 10 years old and cancer-free and she's inspiring others.

5. "One important thing to know is you’re still the same person during it. I’m more eager than ever to do what I did. I want to do everything." - Kylie Minogue

The singer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had to cancel her Showgirl Tour of Australia and Asia to seek immediate treatment. Her quote highlights how a person's appearance might change throughout their breast cancer battle but they are still the same.

6. "Staring down the scariest thing that could have happened to me gave me the strength to take on new challenges" - Hoda Kotb

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After finding a lump in her breast, Kotb underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in March 2007. People reported that she spoke out about her battle on TODAY in 2008 and how it also gave her the confidence to go for the fourth-hour co-host position. 

7. "You can’t let it change you. I’m still the same person I was before. It’s just another road traveled." - Ken Gomez

Ken Gomez is a male breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 2015 after noticing that his right nipple was inverted in the shower. He underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and a lumpectomy surgery in 2016. He is now part of the Male Breast Cancer Coalition and shared his story with Amarillo Globe-News to raise awareness.

8. "Those who have experienced it know that even after you’ve kicked it’s ass, it still impacts you, in good ways and bad. You still go through the roller coaster of emotions. You still need support and love. And you can still grasp life and live, live, live." - Shannen Doherty

Doherty revealed that she was battling breast cancer in 2015. She documented her treatment on Instagram. Today, she is in remission and she shared an Instagram post about how breast cancer impacts you even after you're done treatment and why it's important to celebrate life and loved ones.

The caption accompanying her Instagram photo (above) reads: "Breast Cancer Awareness month. This image is so personal to me. I had started chemo. Was using a cold cap in hope to not lose my hair. End result was clumps in my hands. I was sick, felt like I was losing myself. Gained people and lost people. Got weak and got strong. Felt ugly and yet more beautiful inside than I had ever felt before. I remember this like it was yesterday, like it was a minute ago. Cancer has so many phases. Shock, denial, acceptance, anger, resentment, rebellion, fear, appreciation, beauty. Remission. Even then, the phases keep coming. Cancer is with you forever. Those who have experienced it know that even after you've kicked it's ass, it still impacts you, in good ways and bad. You still go thru the roller coaster of emotions. You still need support and love. And you can still grasp life and live, live live."

9. "I want to remember every moment of what was going on at that time because we talk about defining moments, but I think nothing can define you. They’re all refining moments. You’re constantly refining yourself and refining your life." - Sheryl Crowe

The singer and songwriter opened up about her battle with breast cancer on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show after being cancer-free for six months. 

10. "I gladly share my story with newly diagnosed relatives, friends, and acquaintances. I tell them not to focus on the sorry hand they've been dealt, but on loved ones who need them. That's what helped me survive a potentially devastating late-stage breast cancer diagnosis, and that's what will enable them to survive as well." - Alice Muschany

The breast cancer survivor shared her story in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Inner Strength: 101 Empowering Stories of Resilience, Positive Thinking, and Overcoming Challenges book about how she underwent treatment for breast cancer while her daughter, Jill, went through treatment for leukemia

11. "My family means the world to me and I have not yet seen enough of what my two fantastic children will achieve in their lives to stop watching." - Maggie

Lonely Lingerie, a New Zealand-based lingerie label launched a campaign for breast cancer awareness month featuring women with secondary and "incurable" breast cancer. One of the campaign stars, Maggie, highlighted how it was 10 years since she was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and given a 10 percent chance of survival. It's something she thinks about every day, but she's not losing hope.

12. "You're more free about where you want to be in life. Time is precious." - Sam Taylor-Johnson

Filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson has beat cancer twice — colon cancer in 1997 and breast cancer in 2000. After undergoing a mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy, The Guardian asked if she felt "harder" in an interview. She responded about how you're not necessarily "harder," but more free.

13. "I laughed more in the hospital than I ever have in my life, making fun of all the weird things that were happening to me. My friends would walk in with this sad look, and I would throw something at them and say, 'Come on! This isn’t the end of the world!' " - Christina Applegate

The actress underwent breast cancer surgery in 2012. She spoke to Women's Health in 2013 after her recovery about still finding the joy and humor in life.

Cover image via Unsplash


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