Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus diagnosed with breast cancer

American actress and comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus, best known for her role as Elaine Benes on the hit sitcom Seinfeld, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The star of the satirical series Veep, who set a new record among Emmy Award winners just days ago, announced on Twitter on Friday that she was one of the one in eight women who get breast cancer.

She used the announcement to campaign for universal healthcare.

"1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I'm the one," Louis-Dreyfus wrote on Twitter.

"The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let's fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality."

She prefaced the social media posts with the line: "Just when you thought???"

She did not disclose the severity of the diagnosis.

Louis-Dreyfus, 56, became the youngest female Saturday Night Live cast member in the 1980s and starred alongside comedy giants including Eddie Murphy and Martin Short.

She achieved notoriety playing Elaine Benes on Seinfeld and, since 2011, has produced and starred in Veep.

She plays the embattled politician Selina Meyer in an extremely accurate parody of Washington culture.

On September 17, Louis-Dreyfus won her sixth straight Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the HBO series Veep.

The win set a record for Louis-Dreyfus, who surpassed Candice Bergen and Don Knotts to score the most wins by a performer for the same role in the same show.

It also tied her with Cloris Leachman for the most Emmy wins by a performer.

Louis-Dreyfus learned she had cancer on September 18, the day after the Emmy Awards, an HBO spokeswoman said. The news played no part in the decision to make the next season of Veep its last, the spokeswoman said.

"The writers will continue writing, and the production schedule will be adjusted as needed," she added.

The comedy's last season will air in 2018.

In 2016, Time named Louis-Dreyfus one of the 100 most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list.

After Louis-Dreyfus posted the news on Thursday, responses poured in via Twitter.

Will & Grace star Debra Messing wrote: "J sending all my healing energy your way. You are incredible to use this moment as an opportunity to support others. Thank you. Much love xd."

Comedian and film producer Judd Apatow wrote: "Sending you love and strength but it appears you beat us to it and are sending the world love and strength."

Actress Christina Applegate, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, offered support: "Let's talk if you want."

Fellow Saturday Night Live alumni Sarah Silverman tweeted: "So sorry and so in awe."

Journalist and breast cancer survivor Andrea Mitchell wrote: "Stay strong. It is a club none of us wanted to join but there are amazing women with you in the struggle."

Fairfax Media, Washington Post

This story Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus diagnosed with breast cancer first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.