The world has gone pink this October, also known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Now is the time to raise awareness about the disease and the importance of early detection. It is also the time to acknowledge the resilience of the thousands of women who have battled or are still battling the disease, including Arab women.

Among those are a number of high-profile celebrities, many of whom have defied all odds, triumphed against the illness, and went on to spread awareness on the matter.

So, we compiled a list of 10 inspirational Arab celebrities who have survived breast cancer and become beacons of hope for Arab women struggling with the illness:

1. Zahrah Al Kharji (Kuwaiti)

Born in 1962, Al Kharji grew up to become an actress, starting off her career in theater before moving on to film and television. She also ventured into the music industry and released an album titled "Ghaltana"  ("She is wrong") in 1987.

She is most notably known for her role in the 1988 Kuwaiti series "Madinat Ar-Riyah" ("Wind city").

Al Kharji was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, prompting her to seek treatment in the United Kingdom.

With the support of her family and fans, she overcame it in two years, after which she returned to show business, starring in several productions.

In 2014, Al Kharji shaved her head in solidarity with cancer patients while discussing her experience during a seminar. 

"Hair falls out and then grows back," The New Arab quoted her as saying at the time. "The most important thing is to maintain a good spirit."

2. Noura Rahal (Lebanese-Syrian)

Noura Rahal
Source: Youtube

Noura Rahal made her singing debut in 2001 and rose to stardom after her 2006 hit single “Kollo 3adi” ("It’s all the same").

Soon after, she released an album called “Denyeti Ahla” ("My world is the prettiest"), which became one of the best-selling albums of the year.

Rahal was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, when the illness was still in its early stages, allowing doctors to treat it and stop it from spreading. 

She did not need chemotherapy and has since made a full recovery.

"My illness has taught me how to deal with things patiently," she said in 2008. "Life is a lot simpler than we imagine."

3. Rim Banna (Palestinian)

Rim Banna
Source: Facebook

The well-known singer, composer, and activist has beaten breast cancer twice in the past ten years.

"Cancer occupied my body like Israel occupies Palestine," she once said.

She has been vocal about her battle, becoming a beacon of hope for all cancer patients as well as an active member of the cancer awareness campaign in Palestine.

"I recovered and survived it by loving life, holding onto high hopes, joy, love, and friends," she told Cairo Post in 2014. "The doctors said it was an exceptional case."

Banna is known for her modern renditions of traditional Palestinian songs and poetry, along with her original songs that are often inspired by Palestinian culture.

4. Basma Wahbe (Egyptian)

Source: Twitter

The 45-year-old media personality battled the disease for one year and had one of her breasts removed.

Speaking about her journey, Wahbe has repeatedly affirmed that she never lost hope but instead remained strong throughout the process.

"I try to stay strong," she said in 2013. "Because a patient is just like a wrestler - if he falls, his strengths perish."

5. Shadia (Egypt)

Source: Wikimedia

The 89-year-old singer and actress is considered one of the most prominent figures in the Arabic film and entertainment industry.

In 1984, while she was performing in the iconic play "Raya wa Sekina," Shadia was diagnosed with breast cancer, forcing her to stop working and fly to the United States for surgery. 

That same year, she returned to take part in the movie "La Tas'alni Man Ana" ("Don't ask me who I am").

She then retired from acting and donated her apartment to transform it into a breast cancer research center.

6. Amal Dabbas (Jordanian)

Dabbas is a well-known comedian, drama actress, and popular singer who is recognized as one of the best performers in Bedouin-themed episodes.

This, in addition to serving as a national ambassador for the World Food Program.

Dabbas was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, battling the disease and overcoming it within three years, during which she had one of her breasts removed. 

"Cancer is like everything that causes death, but it is not death," The New Arab quotes her as saying. "Fear and surrender make the disease lethal."

7. Mariam Saleh (Kuwaiti)

Born in 1946, the prominent television and theater personality became one of the first two women to ever act on stage in Kuwait.

In 2012, Saleh was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, after which she traveled to the United States for treatment. After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, Saleh made a full recovery.

Speaking to Laha Magazine, Saleh said, "What I went through was not an ordeal, but a gift from God through which I discovered my true self, discovered life, and I realized the [importance of] loving others regardless of nationality, race, or color."

8. Yasmine Ghaith (Egyptian)

Yasmine Ghaith
Source: Instagram

Yasmine Ghaith took the Arab world by storm earlier this year when she debuted her acting career in the hit Ramadan series "Halawet El Donya."

Ghaith took on the role of the sensational character, Heba, who also suffered from cancer. 

The fashion designer and English teacher was actually still undergoing treatment while shooting the series, having been diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.

She has since recovered from the disease but is taking precautionary measures to prevent it from reemerging.

9. Manal Al Siddiqi (Moroccan)

The actress, who has performed in several series and films, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. 

After putting her acting career on hold for five years, Al Siddiqi recovered from the disease and decided to return to the screen with her very own film. 

She wrote the script for a short film titled "Al Bahlawan" ("The Acrobat"), which depicted her personal journey to recovery, and performed in the film herself.

"I was like a factory that takes in negative energy to transform it into something positive," she said last year.

She explained that the positive outcomes include "opening her eyes to new worlds and different people," as well as creating "Al Bahlawan."

10. Fadia Al Tawil (Jordanian)


The 46-year-old television presenter battled cancer four times and triumphed every time.

Dubbed as the "Rose of MBC," Al Tawil was first diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 32 years old, after which the disease was detected in her bones, then spleen, followed by her lungs and liver. 

Through it all, she held on to the belief that the disease is only making her stronger.

"I struggled with psychological problems before being diagnosed with cancer," she told Laha magazine earlier this year. "The disease gave me strength and a motive to become more optimistic."

Al Tawil went on to say that she "coexisted with the disease more than fighting it."