Award-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus has revealed she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Seinfeld and Veep star made the announcement in a statement posted on social media.

The 56-year-old American said she had a "glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends" around her and made a plea for "universal health care" after saying she was lucky to have "fantastic insurance".

Louis-Dreyfus won best actress in a comedy series for Veep for the sixth year in a row at the Emmy awards earlier this month.

Writing on Twitter and Instagram, she said: "1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I'm the one.

"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."

Hundreds of fans - including celebrities - responded with messages of support within minutes of her post.

TV chef Nigella Lawson posted: "Sending love," while Hollywood star Christina Applegate replied: "Mama, find me. Let's talk if you want."

The official Veep account also responded, saying: "Your strength has always been an inspiration."

Louis-Dreyfus has two sons, Charles and Henry, with her husband of 30 years, Brad Hall.