Actress Valerie Harper was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009. Doctors accidentally spotted it in an x-ray she received before undergoing wrist surgery. After an experimental surgical procedure, Harper remained cancer-free for four years. But then in 2013, her doctors discovered the cancer had metastasized to her brain.
The 74-year-old actress, best known for her roles in "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Rhoda,"and "Dancing with the Stars," spoke on May 7, 2014, at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging to examine federal funding needs for advancing cancer treatment.
"Cancer reminds me of a very bad but tenacious performer, who although no one wants to see, insists on doing an encore, having a return engagement, making a comeback and worst of all, going on tour,"Harper said.
Pink - Asthma
After seeing her gravity-defying stunts during the Grammys, it’s hard to believe the edgy pop star suffers from asthma. But Pink has grappled with serious respiratory problems since the age of 2, and she was born with a collapsed lung.
Pink was hospitalized in 2006 for severe asthma attacks. To make it as a singer, she learned to belt her tunes from her abdomen rather than her lungs.
At least 1 in 12 people in the U.S. have asthma, a chronic condition that causes swelling in the airways, which leads to wheezing, shortness of breath, discomfort in the chest and coughing.
Gregg Allman - Hepatitis C
Allman was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1999. He believes
he contracted the disease while getting a tattoo when he was in his 20s. The
rocker was diagnosed after years of living with chronic fatigue, which is one
of the very subtle symptoms of the hepatitis C, a “silent” condition that
slowly deteriorates the liver and can eventually lead to cirrhosis, or a
scarring of the liver.
Allman underwent a liver transplant in 2010, after drug therapy failed to halt the disease’s progression. He recovered well and has since become a spokesperson for Tune into Hep C, an organization to raise awareness about chronic hepatitis C, which currently affects 3.2 million Americans.
George Clooney - Chronic pain
Clooney says sometimes he can’t sleep
at night due to serious chronic pain, caused by an accident he had in 2005 while filming Syriana. The accident caused breakage in his spine and persistent leakage of cerebrospinal fluid.
Over the years Clooney says he’s taken a number of highly addictive prescription medications. He reports that while the pain is now bearable, it will never fully go away.
Even though it’s now under control, Clooney is still one of the 116 million Americans who lives with debilitating chronic pain.
Robin Roberts - Breast cancer, MDS
The beloved newscaster survived a battle with breast cancer in 2007. Then in 2012, Roberts announced she had myelodysplastic syndrome, which is also known as preleukemia. MDS is a group of diseases where bone marrow does not produce healthy blood cells. Patients with a history of cancer treatment are at risk for developing the disease.
After finding her sister was a perfect match, Roberts successfully underwent a grueling but life-saving bone marrow transplant.
Approximately 10,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S. with MDS. Other risk factors include exposure to tobacco smoke, pesticides and solvents, or heavy metals such as mercury or lead.
Michael Phelps – ADHD
Despite attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Phelps has become an Olympic gold superstar. The swimmer was diagnosed
with ADHD at the age of 9. He then began taking stimulants -- the type of drug
typically used to manage the disorder -- and learned behavioral modification to
help him stay focused both in and out of the pool.
There are experts who say sports are a great way for someone with ADHD to stay mentally balanced. Phelps also uses cognitive behavior therapy to cope with the disorder. About 4 percent of the U.S. population is believed to have ADHD.
Kim Kardashian - Psoriasis
In an episode
of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians," the reality television star visited
her dermatologist, who immediately diagnosed her with psoriasis, an autoimmune
disorder that affects more than 7.5 million Americans.
The disorder causes red
lesions covered by silvery-white scales that appear on knees, elbows, scalp,
and lower back. The diagnosis was traumatic for the star, since her success largely
hinges on her exotic good looks.
"My career is doing ad campaigns and swimsuit photo shoots," she said in the episode. "People don't understand the pressure on me to look perfect. When I gain a pound, it's in the headlines. Imagine what the tabloids would do to me if they saw all these spots."
While the condition isn’t curable, Kardashian and others with psoriasis find relief with prescription lotions and creams. Psoriasis is thought to be hereditary, and Kardashian has said her mother also has the condition.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck - Celiac disease
Like many people with celiac disease, Hasselbeck learned how to
cook and eat creatively in order to avoid foods that contain gluten, which she
says makes her seriously ill. In 2012, the television host published
“Deliciously G-Free,” a compendium of her favorite gluten-free recipes.
estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease,
an autoimmune condition that causes a range of digestive problems.
"No matter what I ate, I
would soon be doubled over with cramps, awful indigestion, diarrhea -- or all
of the above simultaneously," she once said during an episode of “The
View,” the talk show she co-hosted until 2013.
Jim Carrey - Depression
He’s beloved for his light-hearted performances in films
such as “Ace Ventura” and the “Truman Show.” But while Carrey may have great
comedic timing, the actor also knows all about the challenges of mental
Carrey is one of 14.8 million American adults who struggles with depression.
In an interview with 60 Minutes Carrey offered a rare insight into his experience with depression. "I was on Prozac for a long time. It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it forever. I had to get off at a certain point because I realized that, you know, everything's just OK."
Mick Mars - Ankylosing spondylitis
Lead guitarist Mick Mars (pictured third from left) Mötley Crüe suffers from ankylosing spondylitis -- a type of chronic arthritis that affects the bones, joints and the base of the spine.
An estimated 129 out of 100,000 Americans suffer from the disorder.
Mars told CBS Radio in Boston that he views the pain from his condition as mostly an inconvenience. “Of course I have days that are worse than others and there is always some amount of pain with my hips. There are good days and bad days but it is more of an inconvenience than anything else. I don’t feel sick.”
Bill Clinton - Heart disease
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has a long history of heart problems. Nearly 10 years ago, he underwent a quadruple bypass surgery. Then in 2010, doctors conducted an emergency surgery to clear a clogged artery. The husband of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had two stents put into his heart to prevent further blockage.
Unfortunately, like many heart disease patients, Clinton has
a history of unhealthy eating. Once during his presidency he took reporters on a
rigorous jog that ended at McDonald’s. In more recent years he adopted healthier eating habits and lost weight.
Each year, heart disease takes the lives of 380,000 Americans and is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
Michael Douglas - Throat cancer
In 2010 Douglas underwent six months of cancer treatment after doctors found a malignant tumor in his throat. “I was stage four, and there is no stage five,” Douglas said in an interview with New York Magazine. “After complaining for nine months and them not finding anything, and then they told me I was stage four?! That was a big day."
Though Douglas successfully completed treatment, he said there is always a possibility the cancer could recur. Douglas later shocked the public when he told reporters his throat cancer was caused by the human papillomavirus, a sexually-transmitted virus that can be contracted through oral sex.
Jack Osbourne - Multiple sclerosis
The former reality television star and son of Ozzy and
Sharon Osbourne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, two weeks after the
birth of his first child.
Osbourne is one of approximately 350,000 people in
the U.S. living with this autoimmune condition that attacks the brain and spinal cord, and can cause
somewhat mild problems or serious disability, such as paralysis.
In 2012, Osbourne told CBS' “The Talk” that he had symptoms for several years before being diagnosed, including bladder and stomach problems, numbness and tingling in his leg and temporary vision loss.
Padma Lakshmi - Endometriosis
Since giving birth to her baby, the media personality and cookbook author has given voice to the more than 8 million women in North America with endometriosis.
Endometriosis is reproductive system disorder in women that causes uterine cells to grow in other areas such as the ovaries, bowels and pelvis. The condition causes pain, irregular periods and often infertility. The condition can be managed with medications, hormone therapy and sometimes surgery, including hysterectomy.
In 2011, Lakshmi told CBS Philly: “I feel so blessed and so lucky to actually be a mom and be sitting here today. I just wanted to make sure that other young women knew about this before it was too late, because it does affect your fertility, and a lot of us aren’t having babies until we’re in our late 30s or early 40s, and so it’s very important.”
Magic Johnson - HIV
NBA legend and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Earvin
"Magic" Johnson is the picture of good health in the face of HIV. The
retired basketball player has been living -- and thriving -- with the disease for
over 25 years.
After going public with his diagnosis, he formed the Magic Johnson Foundation, a charitable organization that raises funding and awareness for HIV and AIDS.
Approximately 1.1 million Americans are living with the disease, which is no longer the death sentence it was in the 1980s and 90s. Johnson told CBS News in 2013
that he takes three medications each day to stop the progression of his
“I’ve done the things I was supposed to do,” said Johnson. “And if you do that, you can live for a long time, and that’s why early detection is the key.”
Christy Turlington - COPD/emphysema
Former supermodel Christy Turlington came of age in a time
when cigarettes were glamorous. That was until smoking-related cancer killed
her father. After his death, Turlington kicked the habit and became a spokesperson for emphysema. She underwent
emphysema screening to raise awareness, and sadly Turlington learned she was in
the early stages of the disease. Though Turlington no longer is a smoker, the
damage caused to her lungs by the disease is irreversible.
Emphysema is a kind
obstructive pulmonary disease that causes shortness of breath at physical
exertion, a chronic cough, increased mucous, wheezing and fatigue.
Emphysema can put one at higher risk for heart disease and cancer. In 2011, 12.7 million U.S. adults were estimated to have COPD.
Michael J. Fox – Parkinson’s disease
The actor first went public about his Parkinson’s disease in 1998, over five years after being diagnosed. Since then, Fox has been committed to fundraising for medical research and bringing awareness to this neurodegenerative movement disorder that causes tremors, stiffness, slowness of movement and gait difficulties.
The actor, best known for his role in the 1980s sitcom, "Family Ties" and blockbuster films such as "Back to the Future" and "Doc Hollywood," founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000.
Nearly 1 in 500 people in the U.S. has Parkinson’s disease and approximately 60,000 are diagnosed each year.
“You get in your life very few chances to make a difference,” Fox told CBS “Evening News” in 2006. “And I really feel privileged to do this…But having said that, it's not pretty. It's not pretty when it gets bad. I've learned to throw vanity out the window. I've had enough years of people thinking I was pretty and teenage girls hanging my picture on walls.”
Michele Bachmann - Migraines
During her 2011 campaign, news of Bachmann’s chronic migraine disorder seemed as controversial as her politics. Reports swirled that the Minnesota Republican congresswoman’s migraines often leave her incapacitated and sometimes require hospitalization.
In a stump speech on the campaign trail, Bachmann assured Americans her chronic condition wouldn’t impact her job performance. "Like nearly 30 million other Americans, I experience migraines that are easily controlled with medication," Bachmann said at campaign rally in Aiken, South Carolina. “Let me be abundantly clear -- my ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines and will not affect my ability to serve as Commander in Chief."
Tom Hanks - Diabetes
Some speculate Hanks’ drastic weight gain and loss for different roles over the years may have triggered his Type 2 diabetes. The actor packed on 30 pounds to play a baseball coach Jimmy Dugan in 1992's "A League of Their Own." And to prepare for his role in “Castaway,” about a man stranded on a dessert island, Hanks went from 225 to 170 pounds.
Hanks is one of 28.5 million people in the U.S. with the disease, which is currently the seventh leading cause of death in this country.
In 2013, Hanks told David Letterman that weight loss probably isn’t a viable solution for his diabetes, which is a metabolic disease that leads to high blood sugar because the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin.
"My doctor said 'If you can weigh as much as you weighed in high school you will essentially be completely healthy and will not have Type 2 diabetes' and I said, 'Well, I'm gonna have Type 2 diabetes cause there is no way I can weigh as much as I did in high school.'" Hanks said as a teenager he weighed 96 pounds.
Shannen Doherty - Crohn’s disease
"There's nothing sexy about women saying: 'I've got to
go to the bathroom right now,'" the television actress reportedly told
Star magazine more than a decade ago. Doherty, who became a household name through
her role in TV's "Beverly Hills 90210," is one of
700,000 people in the U.S. with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory
condition that causes persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramping
and other digestive problems.
The autoimmune condition is typically managed with medications, including over -the-counter antidiarrheals and steroid drugs. Maintaining a healthy diet and staying active is also known to help minimize disease flares.
Toni Braxton - Lupus
In 2010, the Grammy-winning R&B artist came out about her illness publicly at the 8th Annual Lupus LA Bag Ladies Luncheon. "Today, I'm
going to talk about it because I'm a survivor and I'm here, and I don't want to
lose hope," she told the audience. "Take a look -- this is what lupus looks like."
Two years later, Braxton was admitted to the hospital for lupus-related medical complications. Braxton reportedly suffered a number of heart complications from her condition, including blood clots and a narrowing of the blood vessels in her heart.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune condition in which the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue and cells, including vital organs and joints. It’s estimated that as many as 1.5 million Americans have some form of lupus; up to 90 percent of them are women.
Venus Williams - Sjögren's syndrome
Tennis champion Venus Williams temporarily withdrew from the U.S. Open in 2011 after she received a diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome, a less common autoimmune condition that affects approximately 4 million Americans.
Williams told the
media that she’s suffered from chronic and debilitating depression, swelling,
numbness and fatigue, which are all common symptoms of Sjögren's. The condition is a result of the
body’s immune system attacking certain tissues, and specifically the glands in
tear ducts and the mouth. The condition can also impact vital organs, such as the
kidneys and lungs.
Williams told "CBS This Morning” that after her diagnosis, she made a few lifestyle changes that have helped her to manage the condition -- particularly with her diet. The tennis player tries to maintain a raw vegan diet. "I'm not perfect, so I forgive myself when I make mistakes and I do a lot of juicing as well, a lot of wheat grass shots...lots of fresh juices and things like that."