10 celebrities get real on battling breast cancer

Hannah Kramer

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and funds to battle the disease.

Unfortunately, the disease is "the most common cancer" for American women, aside from skin cancers. Cancer.org estimates that this year alone, more than 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed -- and almost 41,000 will pass away from the disease.

Given the prevalence of the disease, doctors encourage patients to be knowledgeable about the symptoms and alert when looking out for the signs. Catching the cancer early can mean all the difference between life or death for many patients -- some of whom have included Hollywood's most famous faces.

Stars like Angelina Jolie, Melissa Etheridge and Cynthia Nixon understood and acted on their family history -- they were "vigilant" in regularly seeing doctors and understanding the signs to look out for. While stars like Giuliana Rancic and Christina Applegate underwent mastectomies despite a lack of family histories, others such as Olivia Newton-John were diagnosed twice.

Through their stories, they are encouraging women to take action early and are advocating for increased research on the condition. These brave women are letting others battling the disease know they are not alone. Scroll through above to read their stories.

For more on symptoms of breast cancer, click here.

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