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Ann Jillian, Breast Cancer Survivor

Patty has advanced degrees in preventive medicine and health psychology, with 35 years of work in allergy and other autoimmune treatment.

Ann Jillian with President Ronald Reagan

Ann Jillian with President Ronald Reagan

Eliminating Breast Punishments

Breasts are important in several societies not only in human reproduction but as objects of sexual worship. Girls and women stuff their bras with toilet paper or inflatable inserts, purchase push-up bras, tape their breast up higher, and torment their bodies in other ways to appear to have larger breasts.

Some women buy new breasts by purchasing implants for surgery - several times until problems arise. Sometimes these women change their minds and have implants removed, other times, not.

Frustrated women and those in pain resulting from back problems caused by heavy breasts want to have them reduced and some do so. Some frustrated women I have known feel that they should have been born as men and scream to have their breasts cut off, though at the time, few doctors would help them.

Some jealous - or mentally ill - mothers threaten to have their large breasted middle school girls inflicted with double mastectomies.

The whole world benefits from public awareness and support for breast cancer prevention, treatment, and cure. This is the stern of the Wightlinks Wight Ryder II and a poster for breast cancer awareness,  October 2009

The whole world benefits from public awareness and support for breast cancer prevention, treatment, and cure. This is the stern of the Wightlinks Wight Ryder II and a poster for breast cancer awareness, October 2009

Physical and Emotional Pain

Breasts can cause a universe of pain and anguish. This is true in good health, let alone during any of the stages of breast cancer, and doubly for men that suffer from the disease. The fact that isolated children have suffered from breast cancer is unthinkable yet true.

Altogether, it would be preferable if secondary sex characteristics did not cause so much physical, emotional, and societal pain. Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October and Hubpages this year begin to make it so.

Friends have survived, well and not so well. One underwent successful breast reconstruction and is one of the happy cases with long life following surgery. Another suffered not only breast cancer, but cardiovascular events, diabetes, and high cholesterol all at once, along with psychological symptoms, all during pursuit of a masters degree, and was one of the not-so-happy outcomes.


Cancer and Body Image

Girls in American cultures need to be encouraged to accept and enjoy whatever body styles they inherit, changeable only within certain parameters of reasonable exercise and healthy eating. Plastic surgery may be acceptable and affordable for some women, but reality surgery TV shows like The Swan have put the issue too far over the top.

Female children and youth need to be taught the realities of a range of healthy body images. Above all, they should not be punished in any way for being flat chested, "slow to develop" or large-breasted - especially not bullied at home for any of these.

"Breasts" as a concept is smothered in stigma, no matter the size or health of any breasts. Until societies overcome that problem, girls and women can be encouraged by public figures that have survived breast cancer surgery and lived enviable lives afterward.

Nagasaki Trolley in 2007

Nagasaki Trolley in 2007

Famous Survivors

The well known Christina Applegate of Married With Children underwent double mastectomy in the 2000s and came back to work as a successful, attractive actress, despite the surgery. She is one of the more recent role models for girls and women today.

However, one of the originals of the Baby Boom Generation is Ann Jillian, who survived cancer and at this writing is still living and acting since she was10 years old.

At age 35, Ann underwent a double mastectomy, but bore a son 7 years afterward. That is a powerful example to women and girls. She filmed her life story up to that point for a made-for-TV-movie and it is quite moving and an inspiration.

Baby Boomer Survivor

Aside from films, a tour with Bob Hope to entertain US troops, Golden Globes, emmy Nominations, singing, TV movies, guest appearances, and speaking engagements, Ann Jillian is the president of her production company, called 9-J. On her speaking tour, her presentations are always complimented with song. Her pianist accompanies her as she speaks and sings about the joys of motherhood and the wonders of life and good health.

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By 2010, Ann survived breast cancer surgery for over 25 years, unheard of in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. By 2020, she was alive at age 70 years, and still singing. Ann also writes for The Columnist online.

One of the most provocative and uplifting programs Ann presents in her tour is one called Never Had a Bad Day In My Life. She also does singing tours and has new recordings to be released soon.

This all is an incredible lot of accomplishment for so many years, after having played Mae West and then losing both breasts.

Some Other Famous Breast Cancer Survivors

  • Anastacia, singer/songwriter/producer
  • Brigitte Bardot, actress
  • Diahann Carroll, singer/actress
  • Sheryl Crow, singer
  • Melissa Etheridge, singer
  • Marianne Faithfull, singer
  • Edie Falco, actress
  • Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill, figure skaters
  • Ernie Green, NFL player
  • Kate Jackson and Jacklyn Smith: Charlie's Angels. Fellow angel Farah Fawcett died of colon cancer.
  • Kylie Minogue, Singer
  • Olivia Newton John, Singer; survived until August 2022
  • Cynthia Nixon, actress in Sex and the City
  • Elaine Paige, actress
  • Richard Roundtree, star of Shaft.
  • Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, now deceased.
  • Suzanne Somers, actress in Three's Company
  • Shirley Temple Black, long-time actress and ambassador, now deceased.
  • Maura Tierney, actress in Broadcast News, ER, Parenthood

Additional Sources

  • How to Detect Skin Cancer by Smell: I have mentioned that, through the years, I had witnessed a few physicians determine the possibility of cancer by using the sense of smell. Some did not experience a smell exactly, but some sort of alarm in the brain that almost bypassed the sense of
  • Rosen, M. "Miracle Mama" (Cover Story), People Magazine; 9/16/1991.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2010 Patty Inglish MS

Comments and Experiences

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 06, 2011:

Thanks for the comment!

Marty Lois Vergie on November 06, 2011:

ANN JILLIAN is our flag ship! She led the way and we are going to have a baby too after breast cancer. Thank you ANN JILIAN!

Kimberly Venegas from Idaho on January 25, 2011:

one of my best hubs, very inspiring.

Support Med. from Michigan on January 10, 2011:

Good to know that you can survive and still be happy. Very encouraging. Voted/rated.

joleenruffin from Tracy, CA on December 10, 2010:

Patty, your list of famous breast cancer survivors was very interesting. It is always encouraging to know the people who have suffered through this disease and are victorious in the end :)

gr82bme from USA on October 18, 2010:

Great job on this hub. I remember when An was going through this

Hello, hello, from London, UK on October 18, 2010:

It must be devasting especially when you are young and have a young family. Thank you for hyour encouraging hub that there are women who have survived.

Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on October 17, 2010:

Thanks for increasing cancer awareness...

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 17, 2010:

Thanks for all the great comments! Ann Jillian is a real hero for us. So are all the survivors that make the most of every day.

nifty@50 on October 17, 2010:

Anyone that can defeat the "big C" has my respect!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on October 17, 2010:

Wonderful hub on The Breasts and Breast Cancer Survivors. You bring up some excellent issues. Ann Jillian is a courageous woman and set the standard for those celebrities who followed. Great job!


Hi Patty,

This was a very interesting hub about Ann Jillian and her survival for breast cancer. I have lost three school mates to breast cancer.

Each of them found lumps in their breasts during their pregnancies. They have all passed on now.

Three husbands and six children left without their wives and their mothers. The youngest baby was just five weeks


Hopefully, one day a cure for cancer will be made, especially the ones that are the most aggressive.

I am still writing my poetry. I have written a book about Fairyland and due to the the very favourable reviews and advice I have had, I am going to try and have it published, before I am too ill to be able to finih it. It is getting harder to type, but I am determined. This is my dream I have had to publish either a story book for children, wich is in the pipe line.

I shall stay in touch and keep you up to date Patty

Love BB Pam. xx

Earth Angel on October 17, 2010:

Blessings to you Patty and all the amazing women who are touched by breast cancer!!

That of course means 100% of us!! We are either touched ourselves or the people we know and love are touched!!

Thanks for such an inspiring reminder!!

Touching others with love and healing!! Earth Angel!!

jollytan from Singapore on October 16, 2010:

Thank you so much for writing about this. This is an excellent piece of work. Very informative and inspiring.

Susan Keeping from Kitchener, Ontario on October 16, 2010:

Excellent hub. Haven't heard Ann Jillian's name in years.

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