CANCER - a disease that affect us at some point of our lives and it can be us, and our loved ones. Yet undergoing treatment is no easy feat. Cancer patients need to learn how to maintain optimism on their own in addition to receiving support from family and friends in order to overcome hardships and frustrations and find ways to look forward with their life goals.

With that, let's look at some celebrities from South India, or have worked in the film industry, who have beat the disease and lived to tell the tale.

1) Gautami Tadimalla

Gautami was an actress who ruled the silver screen in the 1990s. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35, following a mammogram.

She beat the disease after a long road to recovery, and the experience changed her outlook on life, she had said.

"Every single day counts and we must live it to the fullest. Making small changes in our daily lives actually adds value to life," she was reported telling India Today.

Ulaganayagan Kamal Hassan, whom she was dating then, and her then 5-year-old daughter supported her through the ordeal, and gave her motivation to keep on fighting, she added.

Following her recovery, the 50-year-old actress found the Life Again Foundation, which is dedicated to raise awareness about the disease, and help cancer patients.

2) Manisha Koirala

Manisha is an actress who found equal success in both Bollywood and Kollywood, back in the 1990s, thanks to her cherubic beauty and acting talent.

The Nepalese actress, renowned for her rolls in Tamil blockbusters, such as "Bombay", "Indian" and "Mudhalvan", was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.

Following the diagnosis, she underwent several rounds of chemoteraphy and spent several months at a hospital in the US, and is now cancer-free.

The disease has changed her as a person, the 49-year-old actress had said in interviews, adding that she is now kinder and values her life and health more.

Like Gautami, Manisha is also now actively involved in spreading awareness about cancer, and has even written a book about her ordeal, titled: "Healed: How Cancer Gave Me a New Life".

3) Sonali Bendre

This actress, who was huge in Bollywood in the 90s, has only starred in two Tamil movies, but she captivated the Tamil audiance with her pretty smile in just one her flicks - 1999's Kadhalar Dhinam.

In 2018, she was diagnosed with an aggresive metastatic cancer, with just 30% of survival. The disease forced her to relocate to the US for treatment purposes.

Sonali, 45, also did not want to hide the fact that she had the disease. She started documenting her road to recovery on her Instagram and it was received by her fans. The purpose of her sharing was not to elicit sympathy, but to inspire others, she had said.

Post-recovery, she and her family are back in India, and Sonali have started appearing in talk shows to share her ordeal and tell people stricken with cancer, that if she can beat it, they can do it too.

4) Mamta Mohandas

Mamta predominantly featured in the Malayalam industry but has also acted in a number of Tamil movies, such as "Sivappathigaram" and "Guru En Aalu". In 2009, the actress cum singer was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. She fought the disease and won, and took to social media to celebrate her victory afterwards.

On World Cancer Day last year, she took part in the viral #10yearchallenge, by sharing a collage of her recent picture, along with a photo of her, bald, when she was fighting cancer in 2009, on Instagram. In the post, which she captioned "I got cancer, cancer did not get me", she had also paid tribute to people who stood by her during the ordeal, including her parents, cousins, and friends.

Mamta is back to starring in Malayalam films now and has a couple of Tamil projects set to be released this yea

5) Lisa Ray

Lis Ray may have only one Tamil movie - 1996 Sarath Kumar starrer Nethaji, to her credit, but she is an established model, author, and social activist in her own right.

In 2009, the Indian-Canadian actor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma - a form of blood cancer. Ray started documenting her journey of overcoming the disease on a blog called the Yellow Diaries, which became an instant hit among her fans, and others alike. Her writing and columns have since been republished in major publications.

Ray was declared cancer-free in Feb 2010, following a stem cell transplant. She remains an active advocate of stem cell therapy and continues to participate in fundraisers and cancer awareness campaigns.

6) Visu

Visu was a well known actor cum director in the 1980s, with his trademark being his voice. However, he lost his "trademark" voice after diagnosed with throat cancer in 2010.

Attributing it to his previous habit of smoking at least 60 cigarettes a day for more than 50 years, Visu said the disease confined him to his house for nine months.

"My voice, my trademark, went away. It was as if Visu had been erased from this world," the septuagenarian was quoted saying by The Hindu.

Visu eventually recovered from cancer but later came down with renal dysfunction that requires regular dialysis.

Although there are celebrities who have beat this cruel disease and lived to tell the tale, there are also those who have not been as lucky.

Yesteryears actress and playback singer Srividya is one of them.

In 2003, the actress, who starred opposite Kamal Haasan in 1975's Apporva Raagangal and later fell in love with him, was diagnosed with spine cancer. Three years of treatment did little to cure her, as the cancer had spread throughout her body, and on October 19, 2006, Srividya died, aged 53.

Upon her passing, the actress, who had been married and divorced several times, penned a will to entrust her money to start a music and dance school for efficient students who could not get the opportunity to get involved, due to lack of funds.

Source: Times of India,, Wikipedia, The Hindu
Photo source: The Hindu,,