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Famous breast cancer survivors inspire strong baby names for girls

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Written by Mary Fetzer   

October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is the perfect time to honor those who've encountered this terrible disease. While most of us know personally someone who has fought breast cancer, we've decided to highlight here some of the brave celebrities who have brought even more awareness to the ongoing struggle to eradicate this killer. Would you consider paying tribute to a breast cancer survivor in the form of a baby name?

Andrea: A routine mammogram enabled NBC news correspondent Andrea Mitchell to pursue treatment for early-onset breast cancer. Yet another example of why mammograms are oh-so-important.

Betsey: Betsey Johnson was quiet about her breast cancer diagnosis, lumpectomy and radiation treatment. The fashion designer discovered the lumps in her breast when one of her saline implants deflated.

Betty: Former First Lady Betty Ford was 56 when a routine checkup revealed a lump in her breast. The removal of the malignant tumor was national news in 1974 and opened one of the first truly public discussions about breast cancer screenings and treatment.  

Carly: It was 1997 when singer-songwriter Carly Simon underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer.

Cynthia: Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon was very private about her battle with breast cancer. Nixon's mother had cancer twice, so the actress started getting annual mammograms at age 35. "Starting mammograms early because I had a family history of it has been life-saving," she told the CBS Early Show.

Edie: While filming The Sopranos, the Emmy Award-winning actress Edie Falco found out she had breast cancer. She battled the disease privately — her coworkers never knew she was undergoing chemo.

Giuliana: Reality TV's Giuliana Rancic discovered she had breast cancer while heading into a third round of IVF. Rancic's doctor saved the star's life by insisting she have a mammogram before he'd help her try to get pregnant.

Gloria: The original feminist, Gloria Steinem found herself in the fight of her life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986.

Jaclyn: Charlie's Angels beauty Jaclyn Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer exactly 15 years after former Angels costar Kate Jackson was treated.

Judy:  Beloved author Judy Blume, with her self-proclaimed "small breasts," was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ. Because her breasts are so dense, Blume opted for a sonogram over a mammogram and credits her radiologist for finding the cancer early.

Kathy:  Award-winning actress Kathy Bates had a double mastectomy after her breast cancer diagnosis and did not need to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. "My doctors have assured me I'm going to be around for a long time," Bates told People magazine.

Kylie:  Australian pop star Kylie Minogue was "informed that since my diagnosis, thousands of women had become more aware than ever of the risk of breast cancer," she wrote on her website. Minogue is a big advocate for "being breast aware" and "more proactive with self breast examination."

Maggie:  Esteemed actress Maggie Smith was 73 years old when she received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Dame Smith had had benign lumps in the past, and the cancer diagnosis came as a shock. She continued filming a Harry Potter movie while undergoing chemotherapy.

Martina:  Following a biopsy in 2010, tennis great Martina Navratilova tested positive for breast cancer. Following a lumpectomy, Navratilova competed in a tennis tournament while undergoing radiation.

Maura:  After being diagnosed with breast cancer, actress Maura Tierney quit television to focus on her treatment. Now fully recovered, Tierney can now focus fully on her craft.  

Melissa:  Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge found a "rather large" lump in her breast that she hadn’t noticed even one day earlier. She is healthy and cancer-free after a lumpectomy and chemotherapy.

Nancy:  Former First Lady Nancy Reagan's battle with breast cancer was a very public one. She elected to undergo a full mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy to treat her cancer.

Olivia:  Beloved pop star Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. Since her recovery, she has become an important voice in breast cancer awareness efforts around the world.

RobinGood Morning America anchor Robin Roberts was 46 when she discovered a lump during a self-exam. Needless to say, she was strongly opposed to recommendations by a medical panel that women wait until age 50 to begin routine mammograms.

Sheryl:  Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow was diagnosed after a routine mammogram showed calcifications in both breasts. As a self-described "walking advertisement for early detection," she opened the Sheryl Crow Imaging Center to help others benefit from the technology that saved her life.

Wanda:  Comedian Wanda Sykes' cancer was detected during a breast reduction. With a family history of cancer, Sykes and her doctors determined that a double mastectomy was her best option.

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Photo credit: Don Farrall/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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