Best known for her role as Kelly Bundy in the sitcom “Married with Children” and later as Samantha in “Samantha Who?”, actress Christina Applegate has enjoyed a successful career in comedy. For her role as Samantha, she received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations; she would also appear on Broadway and in movies like “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”.
As reported on CNN.com, her life was rocked by the results of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
After her mother went through breast cancer, Applegate became vigilant about making sure she kept up exams for herself. In 2008, she elected to have a preventative double mastectomy and breast reconstructive surgery due to a diagnosis of breast cancer, as described by WebMD.com. An early diagnosis meant that it hadn’t spread and that she could have radiation therapy rather than chemotherapy. Though two lumpectomies showed she had cancer in only one breast, she was informed that she had the option of radiation treatment of mastectomies. She determined that the preventative surgery made the most sense given that she had a family history of breast cancer and a BRCA1 gene mutation. The BRCA1 gene mutation makes breast and ovarian cancer a likelihood for carriers.
The process was devastating for her as she went through the emotional loss of a part of her body. But she was informed she was 100 percent clean and clear of cancer as a result of the surgery.
Drawing inspiration from talking to fellow breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge, Applegate decided to put her experiences to a positive purpose. Her doctor had recommended that she not have a mammogram and opt for an MRI screening instead, due to the denseness of her breasts. She did so, but it is a procedure that many insurance companies won’t cover and that can be very expensive, as is the genetic screening. She credits both the MRI and the screening with having saved her life.
In response to this need, she helped spearhead Right Action for Women: Christina Applegate Foundation. The Foundation works to provide donated funds for women at high risk for breast cancer who lack the insurance or ability to pay for breast screenings.
According to their website, Right Action is a charitable services fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The site offers online donation opportunities, information about breast cancer, and a link to clothing that helps fund breast cancer research.
“Right Action for Women: Christina Applegate Foundation”
CNN.com “Christina Applegate: Why I had a double mastectomy”
Miranid Hitti, “Christina Applegate’s Mastectomy: FAQ” WebMD Health News