Christina Applegate on her double mastectomy: ‘I think about it every day’
-May 30, Hannah Hargrave, Health -
Christina Applegate is more than an actress, a mum and a wife, she’s also a cancer survivor who underwent a double mastectomy in 2008. She’s opened up about her battle and discussed why she decided to incorporate her own personal cancer struggles into her new show.
It’s been more than a decade since Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer and made the painful decision to have both of her breasts removed, but she’s reminded of it every day.
The Hollywood star admits she doesn’t talk much about what she went through and yet now her character on her Netflix tragicomedy ‘Dead to Me’ is mirroring her mastectomy heartache and Christina is opening up about her own fight.
‘You’re never not aware’
“It hasn’t really been discussed on shows before; I don’t think there’s a lot of characters out there with double mastectomies,” she says. “But I went through it, and it’s a horribly painful process, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and I never really talked about it. I thought this was my chance to tell a little bit about me, but also all the women that have gone through that.”
In the show her character Jen Harding reveals she had a preemptive double mastectomy after her mother died of breast cancer and that’s what happened to Christina too.
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‘Everything looks different’
Her mum battled cancer twice before she died which lead Christina to start routine testing from the age of 30. She discovered she was the carrier of BRCA1 gene which increases her risk of cancer and in 2008 she was given the crushing diagnosis.
She had two lumpectomies and could have undergone radiation, chemotherapy or surgery but ultimately decided to have the preventative procedure instead.
“I think about it every day,” she says. “Girls who go through this, we say to each other, ‘Yep, it’s been 10 years,’ but you’re never not aware that that’s something you’ve been through. Everything looks different. You have to shower and you’re like, ‘Oh, there they are. That happened.’ “
‘It’s such a personal choice’
The chances of her cancer returning were hugely decreased by her decision to have both of her breasts removed but it certainly wasn’t something she undertook lightly.
“It’s such a personal choice,” Christina admits before referencing the scene in the show when she tells her friend about her mastectomy. “I don’t know what anyone’s going to take away from that moment or scene, except for ‘Wow, I felt that way, too, and I’m going to be OK.’ Because you will. It’s OK to admit that you feel that way.”
If you found this article interesting you might also like to read about how Jennifer Fisher conquered cancer and adversity and turned it into a thriving global business and for another inspiring woman see what Helena Christensen told us when she sat down for a chat.