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2. Celia Hodes of "Weeds," played by Elizabeth Perkins, is main character marijuana dealer Nancy's manipulative, self-involved, alcohol abusing, too-close-for-comfort neighbor. Celia's breast cancer is discovered in season one and she moves on in subsequent seasons to become an informant against her friend and deal pot through her cosmetics line.
What's real about Celia's experience? Breast cancer doesn't always happen to likable people. Hopefully, characters who resemble Celia a little too much have their own circle of supportive friends and family — no matter how many hijinks they pull.
3. Murphy Brown of "Murphy Brown," dry-witted and determined, has to be persuaded by friend Corky Sherwood to get a mammogram. The show's last season is centered on Murphy's treatment, which includes a medical marijuana controversy.
What was real about Murphy's experience? The number of mammograms women is said to have soared 30% after the show aired. The character's snarky comments didn't dissipate and later, the American Cancer Society honored Candice Bergen for her contributions to breast cancer prevention and education.
4. Samantha Jones of "Sex and the City," the outrageous self-proclaimed "try-sexual," discusses her diagnosis as bluntly as she talks about spending hours alone with The Rabbit. Privately, she buckles under the emotional weight of lost libido, hair and physical strength. True to her character, Samantha tries to push past her dependency on boyfriend Smith and wears outlandish wigs to events.
What was real about Samantha's experience? Kim Cattrall's portrayal of a fabulous, independent woman inconvenienced and afraid while she's treated for breast cancer is at its best when she's throwing around f-bombs at gala organizer ladies and pulling off her sweaty wig as she gets real with other survivors. Samantha showed off that cancer doesn't have to be polite or Spandex-less.
5. Mary Beth Lacey of "Cagney and Lacey" is almost 41 when she is diagnosed with breast cancer in the iconic female cop show that ran throughout the '80s. Mary Beth, played by Tyne Daly, is the mother of two teens and a toddler. She is a "thinker" cop who relies on her intuition, according to the show's official site, and through treatment, digs deep to better appreciate her job on the force and her young daughter.
What was real about Mary Beth's experience? While her methodic nature makes her a great officer, she sits firmly in denial when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. Mary Beth has to be convinced by partner Christine Lacey to stop ignoring the illness and take care of herself.