It can be hard to talk about intimate health issues and medical decisions, but certain celebrities have dedicated themselves to raising awareness and ending stigmas — particularly when it comes to women’s health.
Back in 2013, Angelina Jolie made headlines when she opened up in a New York Times op-ed about her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy — removing both of her breasts — after doctors discovered she had the “faulty” BRCA1 gene. BRCA1 greatly increases the carrier’s chances of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the future.
And Angelina is far from the only celebrity to open up about these issues. Christina Applegate has been an outspoken advocate of breast cancer awareness ever since she was diagnosed back in 2008.
In a recent interview, Christina revealed that she has also taken steps to prevent the development of ovarian cancer.
Scroll through to read more about Christina’s important reasons for opening up about her ongoing cancer prevention efforts.
NOTE: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Learn more at the National Breast Cancer Foundation‘s official website.
Thumbnail Photo: Flickr / Gage Skidmore
The Married… with Children actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008.
At the time, a representative for the then 36-year-old actress confirmed the news with a statement to PEOPLE:
Christina Applegate was diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer. Benefiting from early detection through a doctor-ordered MRI, the cancer is not life threatening. Christina is following the recommended treatment of her doctors and will have a full recovery. No further statement will be issued at this time.
Luckily, since the cancer was caught in the very early stage, the doctors were able to eradicate it completely.
Christina opted to undergo a double mastectomy, even though cancer had only been detected in one of her breasts.
Like Angelina, the decision to remove not just one but both breasts was a preventive measure. Christina also has the breast-cancer-causing gene BRCA1.
Her mother, Nancy Priddy, also battled breast cancer and suffered a recurrence many years later, according to PEOPLE.
The actress has been cancer-free ever since, though, and getting a double mastectomy was not a choice she made lightly.
“Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I scream, and I get really angry and I get really into wallowing in self-pity sometimes, and I think it’s all part of healing,” she said during a 2008 Good Morning America appearance. “I didn’t want to go back to the doctors every four months for testing and squishing and everything. I just wanted to kind of be rid of this whole thing for me. This was the choice that I made, and it was a tough one.”
Over nine years after her breast cancer diagnosis, Christina confirmed that she also opted for a preventive procedure in order to avoid developing ovarian cancer.
In a recent interview with Today.com, she revealed that she’d had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.
“You’re the first person I’m telling this. Two weeks ago, I had my ovaries and [fallopian] tubes removed. My cousin passed away from ovarian cancer in 2008. I could prevent that,” the actress explained. “That’s how I’ve taken control of everything. It’s a relief. That’s one other thing off the table. Now, let’s hope I don’t get hit by a bus.”
Christina has one daughter, 6-year-old Sadie, with her husband Martyn LeNoble.
Since her diagnosis, the actress has been very active in making lifestyle changes to prevent cancer — both in herself and her child. BRCA1 is genetic. Christina is steadfast about trying to avoid “foods that are filled with chemicals” and avoiding stress, running “a 100 percent organic house.”
“The chances that my daughter is BRCA positive are very high,” Christina told TODAY. “I look at her and feed her the cleanest foods. I try to keep her stress levels down.”
“I’m doing everything I can on my end knowing that in 20 years, she’ll have to start getting tested,” she continued. “Hopefully by then there will be advancements. It breaks my heart to think that’s a possibility.”
Christina also discussed her reasons for founding Right Action for Women, an organization that helps to provide assistance to women who are at increased risk for breast cancer and don’t have the insurance or financial means to cover the costs of regular breast screenings.
“We’re at this place where we need to sit down and figure out the future of what it is that we’re doing and get into more of the BRCA tests for women,” she explained. “That’s a huge cost for a lot of people who don’t have perfect insurance. If you do know you have the gene, it gives you an empowerment about your lifestyle.”
Isn’t it amazing that Christina has been so candid about her own health in order to help raise awareness for other women?
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