"The Simpsons" co-creator Sam Simon died on Sunday in his Los Angeles home after a long and public battle with colon cancer.
Colon or colorectal cancer, defined as cancer that starts in the large intestine or the rectum (the end of the colon) affects more than 103,000 Americans each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
Colorectal cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC, but the number of new cases and deaths are both decreasing, due to better treatment and early detection. While more adults are being screened, one in three adults still isn't getting screened for colorectal cancer when they should be.
Adults over the age of 50 are most likely to develop colorectal cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Family history of the disease; past endometrial, breast, ovarian, colon or rectal cancer; a history of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis; or a history of colon polyps can all increase a person's risk of developing the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Click through the slideshow below to see more celebs who faced the disease, stars who supported sick family members and other A-listers who have spoken out to raise awareness and support the cause.
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When she was diagnosed with colon cancer
in 2002, the TV personality (and Ozzy's wife) thought, "My work isn't finished here with my family," she told People. That drive to survive got her through surgery and chemo, helping her to remain cancer-free since May 2004. "You can go, 'Why me?' Or you fight the cancer and say, 'You are gone,'" she said.
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The baseball great, left, underwent surgery and chemotherapy for colon cancer in 1998, and announced in 2000 that the cancer had returned, according to the AP. Strawberry's agent said a CT scan suggested the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes
. Today he is involved in raising autism awareness
and engages in various public speaking endeavors.
Carmen Marc Valvo
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As a colon cancer survivor
, the fashion designer is involved in many efforts to raise awareness for colorectal cancer. He has joined forces with Katie Couric, the NCCRA and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, among others, according to his website. "Before I was diagnosed with colon cancer I was totally unaware of my own family history relating to the disease. With no family history on record, I was not eligible for prescreening by insurance and would have normally had to wait until the age of 50 for my first colon cancer screening. Had I waited my prognoses would have been much, much different," he has said.
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The basketball great told CNN, "My grandfather died from colorectal cancer, my uncle died from colorectal cancer and my father almost died from colorectal cancer," adding that he himself has the gene. He became involved in a public awareness campaign
, according to CNN, before being diagnosed with leukemia in 2009, at the age of 62. He said his cancer was at "absolute minimum"
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The actress died in 1993 at the age of 63 from colon cancer
. She had undergone surgery in November of 1992, the New York Times reported.
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