We’ve chosen 12 movies about breast cancer that may be able to help you through your own breast cancer journey. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a movie about cancer from our list that speaks to you and your loved ones.
One of these movies should be able to bring you comfort, make you laugh, and help you and your loved ones fight with dignity. They're beautiful, hopeful movies to watch when you or a loved one are sick.
1. The Long Goodbye
The Long Goodbye follows the story of a wife and mother named Kara. Her devotion to God is ever-present as she fights a terminal breast cancer diagnosis with grace and love. She believes that her diagnosis is a way to show an even greater devotion to God.
This relentless positive outlook carries her through her sickness. It’s Kara’s tremendous heart that makes this story uplifting, even if Kara must leave her family.
If you have a close group of girlfriends with whom you spend a lot of time laughing, this film will also give you some perspective as they go into battle with you.
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2. Mondays at Racine
In Mondays at Racine, hairstylists Rachel and Cynthia open up the doors of Racine Salon and Spa every third Monday to help women who are battling cancer. These sisters give women a connection and the idea that the women don’t need to fight alone.
The process is easier when they have other women around to go through the insecurities as a sisterhood. Women from all backgrounds and ages experience things differently but the commonality is that they’re all in the struggle together. They say that laughter is the best medicine, so sisters Rachel and Cynthia cultivate a place where laughter closely follows any tears.
3. Miss You Already
Jess and Milly navigate the collision of friendship and sadness in Miss You Already. Milly is diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, but their friendship remains steadfast. Milly is both charming and raw and doesn’t downplay her fatigue, jealousy, or her anger.
Milly offers a balance between heartwarming and heartbreaking moments but it’s the bond between Jess and Milly that gives the movie its most significant value. Their friendship carries Milly through to the end.
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4. Ma Ma
Spanish-speaking movies hold a certain kind of flair for storylines and acting. They often include some surprise additions (like singing) that seem somewhat out of place. While Ma Ma is not an overtly feel-good movie, it does show the beauty of living up until the very last moment.
Penélope Cruz's character embraces life. She’s afflicted with cancer but also finds reasons to laugh with her family, particularly with her son. The theme of this film is about sucking out all the marrow of life. This brilliantly acted movie is also about holding on to loved ones and maintaining your humanity until your final day.
5. Love Is All You Need
Love Is All You Need, which stars Trine Dyrholm and Pierce Brosnan, represents change, loss, vulnerability, love, and acceptance. It makes a cruel disease seem like a journey of self-discovery.
The characters make life-changing personal discoveries. They fight, throw cocktails in each others’ faces, and then they smile, dance, and love. Dyrholm's character is strong, positive, and grounded in reality. Brosnan’s character is charismatic and supportive.
There are many metaphors between Dyrholm’s cancer and a trip to Italy that she takes in the movie. But more than that, the movie helps her discover joy during life’s smaller moments.
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6. Decoding Annie Parker
Decoding Annie Parker is loosely based on a true story. Dr. Mary-Claire King's genetic research with the BRCA-1 gene mutation has affected many women. Now, early diagnosis of the BRCA-1 gene makes breast cancer a preventable disease. But many women can't afford the surgery or they feel insecure about the aftermath of mastectomies.
The movie centers around Annie Parker, who lost both her mother and sister to the very same disease she battles in the movie. Annie deals with isolation in her marriage, self-image, family struggles, and even decreased sexuality.
Nothing about 31-year-old Lily stands out or makes her a remarkable character. But that’s why the film is powerful — anyone can be Lily. More importantly, anyone can go through the same struggles or experience the same little joys. Most films focus on the struggles before and during diagnosis.
But what makes this film original is that it concentrates on the end of treatment and afterward. Lily's friends want to celebrate the end of her treatment, but Lily is almost deflated. She wonders, “What’s next?”
Five stories about five women depict cross-cultural experiences with a breast cancer diagnosis. This anthology of humanizing and relatable stories spread across decades. Beginning in the 1960s, we learn about the taboos about the words “cancer” and “breast.” Releasing those stigmas has not only helped women find treatment and information, but also a cure.
Characters Mia, Pearl, Lili, Charlotte, and Cheyanne all come from different backgrounds. Cancer affects them at different ages and stages in life. Their diagnoses also lead them to have very different personal reactions and their loved ones’ reactions are vastly different, too. Five is a worthwhile watch and an inspiring creation from an all-woman cast.
9. Living Proof
This insightful film is about a doctor who develops a treatment for HER2 metastatic breast cancer. It centers around the struggle to get FDA approval for a drug called Herceptin. You’ll watch the political and financial hurdles it takes to develop this drug. Even with the approval, the struggle is far from over.
Dr. Slamon discovers that it does not help all women and faces endless guidelines and parameters. Some women are turned away and others do not receive the full treatment. Overall, the movie is uplifting because you can see how people really do fight to find a cure.
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10. The Family Stone
Nothing says Christmas like uncomfortable and awkward family moments and messy sibling rivalries. Add the propensity to say the wrong thing to the chaos, and everyone is either miserable, projecting or battling some personal chaos. That makes for the perfect set-up of passionate responses and comedy in The Family Stone. Mom reveals her cancer diagnosis at dinner.
This makes everyone take a step back from petty grievances and consider the important things in life. The family as a whole must stop fighting and think about more than petty indifferences. Cancer doesn't play a huge role in the film but the family dynamic does.
11. Her Only Choice
Many years ago, breast cancer took the life of Tasha's mother. Now, in Her Only Choice, Tasha faces the same genetic diagnosis. To complicate matters, she also discovers that she is pregnant. Her decision to forego cancer treatment upsets the balance within her family.
She is at odds with a husband who is more worried about her than their unborn child. She is at odds with her father, who relives the death of his wife. Tasha is the only one at peace with her decision to save her baby’s life, no matter the cost.
12. Icebound — A Doctor’s Survival at the South Pole
Icebound is based on a physician who decides to escape reality at the South Pole. Dr. Jerri Nielsen has trouble making friends right away but ultimately makes some critical bonds with those who will save her life. Her treatment isn't rudimentary, it’s uncertain:
She has to survive long enough to be evacuated. At the beginning of this film, you feel like the ice and cold really represent Dr. Nielsen’s spirit, but everything begins to thaw as she seeks warmth from the cold.
Watch the Best Movies About Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can attack anyone at any age. You’ll discover in this selection of films that women and men from many different backgrounds can find a community in their struggle. Whether you’re looking for information about genetics and treatment or just seeking a movie to bring you some comfort, we hope you’ve found one (or two!) great options here.
If movies aren’t really your thing, you could also find meaning in our books about death — we’ve chosen the books on our list for their sensitivity on the subject. Need to help a child understand a cancer diagnosis and you know that a movie won’t be the most appropriate way to do it? Check out our list of children’s books about cancer or children’s books on death.