“I am a 36-year-old person with breast cancer, and not many people know that that happens to women my age or women in their 20s. This is my opportunity now to go out and fight as hard as I can for early detection.” – Christina Applegate
Christina Applegate found fame at an early age, starring as a teenager on the sitcom Married… with Children, and going on to act in everything from Broadway musicals to Anchorman movies.
She also became a breast cancer survivor in 2008 at the young age of 36.
Christina always knew she was at risk for developing breast cancer. Her mother, Nancy Priddy, was also diagnosed with breast cancer while in her thirties, and then again in her fifties. Because of that family history, Christina made the wise choice to follow an early detection plan that included more frequent screenings starting at age 30. The cancer was therefore detected in an early stage, when it is easier to treat.
However, her mother’s history and her own early-onset breast cancer led her to also undergo genetic testing for BRCA mutations. She tested positive for a BRCA1 gene mutation, meaning that, like her mother, she had a high probability of developing breast cancer again.
So, despite the cancer only being in one breast, Christina opted for a double mastectomy. Her knowledge of the BRCA gene mutation and the risks involved allowed her to make an educated decision, choosing a proactive treatment that significantly reduces the possibility of the breast cancer spreading or coming back.
According to Christina, an important part of her treatment and recovery was being able to receive support and advice from other breast cancer survivors—people she didn’t even know before her diagnosis.
“When you get diagnosed with cancer, there's such a sense of loneliness, but we need to know as people going through this is that you're not alone”. – Christina Applegate