"After much consideration, I underwent a double mastectomy," Bates, 64, told People. "Luckily, I don't have to undergo radiation or chemo. My family call me Kat because I always land on my feet and thankfully this is no exception."
Bates also battled ovarian cancer nine years ago, according to the magazine.
Mastectomy is breast-removal surgery; it can either be done as a preventive measure (for people who have a high risk of developing breast cancer) or as a treatment for people already diagnosed with the disease, like Bates, according to the National Institutes of Health.
There are many kinds of mastectomy, each with varying degrees of breast removal. A total mastectomy, for example, means that all of the breast tissue, as well as the nipple, are surgically removed, while a radical mastectomy includes the complete removal of the breast, chest muscles and the lymph nodes, the NIH reported.
Lumpectomy is also an option, where much of the breast is conserved and just the tumor is taken out, according to the Mayo Clinic. Even though efficacy of lumpectomy and mastectomy are about the same, some people may not be able to undergo -- or may choose not to undergo -- lumpectomy.
Whether mastectomy rates are increasing or decreasing is not completely clear, though a 2010 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that rates are not increasing even though other studies had suggested an increase in mastectomy rates, Reuters reported. That study included 230,000 breast cancer patients who were diagnosed sometime between 2000 and 2006.
However, the researchers of that study did note that there was a slight increase in the number of mastectomies being performed between 2005 and 2006, Reuters reported:
While this increase wasn't statistically significant, meaning it could have been due to chance, it could also signal a future rise in mastectomy rates.
Similarly, a 2012 study in The Breast Journal also suggested that the rate of mastectomy was declining up until 2005. That study included 21,869 women with earlier-stage breast cancer who were diagnosed between 1998 and 2007 and participated in the Kentucky Cancer Registry. However, the researchers did find that the mastectomy rate is "now increasing across all age groups, especially for women < 50 years and ≥70 years," they wrote in the study.
For more inspiring stars who have been touched by breast cancer, click through the slideshow:
The 36-year-old "E! News" host announced in October on NBC's Today show that she has breast cancer, and that she was alerted to the cancer via a mammogram during her third in vitro fertilization attempt. "Through my attempt to get pregnant for the third time, we sadly found out that I have early stages of breast cancer," she said on the Today show. "It's been a shock. A lot of people have been asking, we saw that you went and got IVF, are you pregnant? But sadly, we've had to put that off." Rancic underwent a double lumpectomy and removal of several of her lymph nodes, but Rancic later went on the TODAY show in December to say that the cancer was not completely cleared by those treatments and that she will undergo a double mastectomy.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres aired last month, Wanda Sykes revealed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. "I had breast cancer. Yeah, I know it's scary," Sykes said in the interview. "This was in February. I went for the reduction. I had real big boobs and I just got tired of knocking over stuff. Every time I eat ... Oh lord. I'd carry a Tide stick everywhere I go. My back was sore so it was time to have a reduction." After the reduction, the pathology report found ductal carcinoma in situ in her left breast, which prompted Skykes, who has a family history of breast cancer, to opt for a double mastectomy. And while the diagnosis is scary, she hasn't lost her signature humor. "I was like, 'I don't know, should I talk about it or what?' How many things could I have? I'm black, then lesbian. I can't be the poster child for everything ... At least with the LGBT issues we get a parade, we get a float, it's a party. [But] I was real hesitant about doing this, because I hate walking. I got a lot of [cancer] walks coming up."
Elizabeth Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer just hours after her husband and presidential-hopeful John Kerry conceded their election -- she had originally noticed a lump in her breast during the campaign. She continued to fight the disease on and off until she passed away in December 2010, after learning that the cancer had spread to her liver. Her family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Wade Edwards Foundation, which was founded in honor of Edwards' son, Wade, who died in a car crash at the age of 16.
In 2008, actress Christina Applegate shared in a "Good Morning America" interview that she had been dagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36 -- she also opted for a bilateral mastectomy instead of radiation or chemotherapy. "I didn't want to go back to the doctors every four months for testing and squishing and everything. I just wanted to kind of get rid of this whole thing for me. This was the choice that I made and it was a tough one," she said in the interview. "Sometimes, you know, I cry. And sometimes I scream. And I get really angry. And I get really upset, you know, into wallowing in self-pity sometimes. And I think that it's all part of the healing." Perhaps the best healing of all came earlier this year when Applegate gave birth to baby Sadie with musician Martyn LeNoble. "She's healed me in so many ways. She's just made my life so much better. I've been kind of sad for a long time, and she's just opened my whole soul," Applegate told People in an exclusive interview this past February.
In 2005, rock-and-roll artist Etheridge underwent a lumpectomy and five rounds of chemotherapy and radiation to eradicate her breast cancer. "I had been running along in my life at a fast pace. When I heard it was cancer, I just stood still," Etheridge told Shape magazine in a 2009 interview. "My life passed over me like a big wave, and after, I was left there standing. This turned out to be a very good thing. I stopped. I looked at my life, I looked at my body and spirit." In the midst of her treatment, Etheridge found out she was nominated for a Grammy for her song "Breathe" -- and while she wasn't sure she'd make an appearance at first, Etheridge ultimately decided not only to attend, but to perform in a Janis Joplin tribute. Taking to the stage bald and with no eyebrows from chemo, she belted out Joplin's classic, "Piece Of My Heart." "It was very special that I had been presented with a day, that I could come back into this entertainment world, and show everyone that you are back and okay, and thought, okay," Etheridge told MSNBC at the time. "I'm going to do this. And I'm not gonna be afraid of the truth. The truth is, yes I had cancer. Yes, I got it out of me. Yes, I went through chemotherapy. Yes, I'm bald." Check out Etheridge's breast cancer causes on her Pink Rage website.
ABC's "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. "I never thought I'd be writing this. ... I have breast cancer," she said in a message released by ABC in August 2007. While working on a tribute to her colleague Joel Siegel, who had died from cancer, Robins reported on how key early detection is -- and, taking her own advice, she did a self breast exam and found a lump. "Much as I was hoping the doctor would say it was nothing, she did a biopsy and confirmed that the lump I'd found was indeed an early form of breast cancer," Robins continued in her statement. Robins underwent a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. In 2008, she told People magazine that she complemented her regular doctor's visits with acupuncture, exercise and advice from a nutritionist. "Yes, I am living with cancer," she told People. "But don't go 'woe is me.' I don't want it. Don't need it. I'm still in the game. I don't want to say 'survivor.' I want to thrive."
Australian singer Minogue was first diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2005 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy treatment. "When you are stripped of everything and you have to grow your eyelashes back, grow your hair back, it's just astonishing," Minogue told British Glamour magazine. "It's hard to express what I've learned from that, but a deep psychological and emotional shift has obviously taken place." This open and honest approach to her diagnosis led Minogue to be voted the most inspirational breast cancer celebrity in an online British-based poll, Reuters reports.
Singer Sheryl Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and, thanks to early detection, underwent a minimally invasive surgery and seven weeks of radiation therapy. Crow told Health magazine that she saw a nutritionist when she was first diagnosed and began a diet full of fish, walnuts, colorful vegetables, fiber and healthy spices. "I kept my breast cancer tattoos -- where the radiation was lined up on my chest," Crow told Health. "Once in a while I look at it to remind myself that I have to put on my oxygen mask first before I put it on anybody else." Today, a cancer-free Crow is focused on spreading the message of early detection. In 2010, she founded the Sheryl Crow Center as part of the Pink Lotus Breast Center, which was founded by her own surgeon, ABC News reports.
In 2008, the "Sex and the City" star went public with her cancer diagnosis, revealing that she found a lump in its early stages and had it removed through radiation, The Huffington Post reported at the time. Nixon wrote in a 2008 Newsweek article that her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer twice -- the first time, Nixon was just 13. "I feel like I have a very concrete story to tell. My story isn't just my story, it mine and my mother's story," the Susan G. Komen for the Cure spokesperson has said.