Christina Applegate has made viewers laugh for half of her life, both on television and on the big screen. In April, 2008, the then 36 year old actress was diagnosed with breast cancer. The battle has turned into an advocate for breast cancer education and research.
Working in Christina’s favor was her vigilance in checking for the disease. She had been getting routine mammograms since she 30, ten earlier than doctors recommend for women to begin the annual testing. Her reason? Christina’s own mother is a breast cancer survivor. She watched as her mother underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy and later a hysterectomy.
Then in 2008, her doctor suggested an MRI to get a better look because of the density of her breast tissue. One week later, she got the life-changing phone call. When Christina learned she also tested positive for the BRCA gene (the Breast Cancer gene), she had some serious thinking to do.
She opted for a double mastectomy, even though only her left breast had cancer. Considering the options which included radiation and testing every year to check for a recurrence or the mastectomy, she decided to eliminate any chance of the cancer returning. Though the decision was easy, she says, dealing with it hasn’t been. IN an interview with CNN Living, she says “It can be very painful. It’s also a part of you that’s gone, so you go through a grieving process and a mourning process.”
Christina chose to share her experience as a way of making people aware. She feels certain had she waited until she was 40 to be tested, she would not be here today. She appeared on the Stand Up to Cancer telethon and id the spokesperson for Lee National Denim Day which raises millions of dollars for breast cancer education and research.
In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, she announced her plans to start a foundation to help high-risk women meet the costs of testing. High-risk is defined as anyone who has had a member of their family contract breast cancer or who tests positive for the BRCA gene.
Today, Christina is enjoying life as an expectant mom alongside fiancé Martyn Lenoble. After a rocky couple of years, she has found some measure of happiness.
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