Linda McCartney died April 17, 1998, at age 56 on the McCartney family ranch in Tucson, Ariz. Her husband and four children -- Heather, Mary, Stella and James -- were at her bedside, and they each took a turn in saying goodbye. Paul suggested that fans remember her by donating to breast-cancer research charities that do not support animal-testing, "or the best tribute: Go veggie."
Betty Ford had been first lady for two weeks when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, at the age of 56 in 1978. She had a mastectomy on her right breast.
Her openness about her illness raised the visibility of a disease that Americans had previously been reluctant to talk about. "When other women have this same operation, it doesn't make any headlines," she told Time magazine. "But the fact that I was the wife of the president put it in headlines and brought before the public this particular experience I was going through. It made a lot of women realize that it could happen to them. I'm sure I've saved at least one person -- maybe more."
Further amplifying the public awareness of breast cancer were reports that several weeks after Betty Ford's cancer surgery, Happy Rockefeller, the wife of then-vice president Nelson Rockefeller, also underwent a mastectomy. These two women did much to increase public knowledge of breast cancer and treatment for the disease.
Richard Roundtree, known for his manly ways as John Shaft in the 1971 film "Shaft," now has taken on a new role: male breast cancer advocate. In 1993, when Roundtree was 51, he found a lump in one breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer -- rare for a man.
Male breast cancer comprises only 1 percent of all breast cancer cases, which is not surprising, since men's bodies contain only about 1 percent of the breast tissue that women have. In 2007, there will be about 2,000 men diagnosed with breast cancer, compared with 178,000 women identified with the disease.
Roundtree had breast tissue removed and underwent chemotherapy, which made him constantly nauseated.
He doesn't hide his illness. He cherishes his survival and works passionately as a spokesman for both the Komen Foundation and a men's health care initiative called Know Your Score. Along with Magic Johnson, Roundtree is encouraging African-American men to see their doctors regularly.
Suzanne Somers decided to have controversial alternative therapy when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. After undergoing conventional surgery and radiation therapy, she chose a therapy using mistletoe injections rather than pursue the recommended chemotherapy after her treatment.