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10 Badass Women Prove How Important Self-Love is After Cancer

  • Sue Cook

    After being diagnosed with a highly agressive form of breast cancer in 2008, Sue Cook was told she only had a 40 percent chance of surviving another five years. Seven years later, she was in remission. 

    "After reaching my unexpected five-year remission, I began reclaiming my body to show that cancer doesn't always have to leave the last mark," she told Cosmopolitan. "I have just completed a tattoo, transforming my scars into art." 

    Read her full story here

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    Natasha Fogarty

    Natasha Fogarty's son was just five months old when she was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. Unfortunately, her diagnosis quickly put an end to her opportunity to nurse, which is why she took part in an emotional photo shoot to capture the final breastfeeding moments with her son.

    She even dyed her hair pink to help raise awareness for breast cancer. Read her entire story here

  • Andrea Sierra Salazar

    When Andrea Sierra Salazar was diagnosed with Stage II nodular sclerosis Hodgkin lymphoma, she was just 17 years old. As a result of grueling chemotherapy treatment, the young teen lost all of her hair, but she turned the blow to her confidence into something empowering by taking part in a gorgeous photoshoot that instantly went viral. 

    "I see all these little girls, and you can see it in their faces that they lose all confidence in themselves," she told Buzzfeed in an interview. "I want them to know that your hair or your physical attributes don't define who you are. What really matters is you inner beauty, the way you treat others, and if you're a kind person, that shows through."

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    Alison Habbal

    Alison Habbal celebrated being cancer free with a 13-hour session in a tattoo parlor in Melbourne to decorate her scarred breast. She uploaded a picture of her masterpiece on Instagram and captured the hearts of people everywhere. 

    "Because there's no nipple, I can blast it everywhere all over Facebook and Instagram, and they can't censor it, which I think is really funny," Habbal told BBC in an interview. Not only has her breast become Instagram famous, but Habbal's post has also helped raise awareness for breast cancer and the impact it can have on a woman both emotionally and physically. 

  • Ericka Hart

    Four months before her wedding, Ericka Hart was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. Like most women, she wanted her breasts reconstructed, but unfortunately her plastic surgeon came across a problem: Finding reference images for a black woman's reconstruction. This lack of visibility for women of color did not sit well with Hart, so she decided to do something about it. While attending an Afropunk Music Festival in Brooklyn she declared herself a breast cancer survivor by going topless. Not only did this help her feel confident about her body, but she also helped raise awareness for breast cancer in the best way. 

  • Angelica Fenney

    It took more than two decades Angelica Fenney to beat cancer for good. Now, at 37 years old, she is reclaiming her body with a gorgeous nude photoshoot in the woods. "For all the sexy, curvy ladies that have body issues I’m making a stand for us," she wrote in a recent Facebook post. "It’s taken me over 21 years to finally accept my body and really start to love it with all my scars too.”


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    Michelle Ross

    Michelle Ross received her breast cancer diagnosis at just 25 years old. After extensive radiotherapy and undergoing a double mastectomy, the mom of two finally received the all-clear. But the life-saving procedures left behind scars that made her feel very disconnected from her body. In an effort to boost her confidence and raise awareness about the reality of breast cancer, she posted a picture on Facebook sharing her scars. "It takes a strong person to wake up and see this body every morning and still appreciate the good things in life," she wrote. "I am living proof of the reality of breast cancer. And I know some people will hate this picture, but I'm not the kind of person to care. I am who I am and I'm never going to stop to get people to check their boobies."

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    Tina Doueihi

    At 37 years old, Tina Doueihi was shocked when she received her breast cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, after a mastectomy, reconstruction, and chemotherapy, she beat her cancer, but came across a new challenge: lingerie. "Cancer takes so much away that is feminine," she told the Daily Mail. "I just thought this so unfair, why does it have to take away lingerie as well?"

    So, after a year of hard work, she created Red Fern Lingerie to help women feel empowered by their bodies after cancer. Since then, her lingerie designs have been a part of the gift bags at the Oscars and continue to help breast cancer survivors get back in touch with their feminine side. 


  • Nikki Black

    After undergoing a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery at 23, Nikki Black decided to reclaim her body in a bold way. She decided to create two beautiful heart-shaped tattoos (inspired by her zodiac sign) on her breasts. "Getting the tattoos for me was a way of taking back control of my body," she told the Huffington Post in an interview. "I didn't want my pre-cancer body back, but I wanted the body I have to be mine." 

  • Kerri Sandberg

    While doctors assumed Kerri Sandberg wanted her breasts reconstructed after undergoing a double mastectomy, they were mistaken. Rather than turning her body back to 'normal,' she decided not to conform to society's beauty standards and opted out of a reconstruction surgery. "There is no normal anymore," she wrote in a personal essay for Salon. "Given the aggressiveness of my tumors, I’m not sure I’ll be here five years from now. Time is precious. I don’t want to spend any more of it than necessary in surgery, or recovering from surgery, or sitting in a waiting room like this one, no matter how comfortably decorated. I have other shit to do."

    Five years later, Sandberg is healthy as ever and just as sure about her decision to go flat.


Faith Brar

Faith is an Associate Digital Editor at Meredith Corporation in Boston. Her work has appeared in Fitness, Shape, Better Homes & Gardens, More and others.  More →

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