Christina Applegate revealed that she underwent surgery to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to reduce her risk of further cancers.
The actress — who had a double mastectomy in 2008 after being diagnosed with breast cancer — says that she had the surgery two weeks ago.
“My cousin passed away from ovarian cancer in 2008. I could prevent that,” Applegate, 45, tells Today. “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.”
Applegate has the BRCA1 gene mutation, which predisposes her to developing cancer. A major concern is that her 6-year-old daughter Sadie could have it as well.
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“The chances that my daughter is BRCA positive are very high,” Applegate says. “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. Hopefully by then there will be advancements. It breaks my heart to think that’s a possibility.”
The former Up All Night star says that she grows her own vegetables with Sadie and husband Martyn LeNoble to ensure that they’re eating clean foods.
“We grow our own vegetables,” she says, before adding, “That’s not an option for everyone. But just get a tomato plant!”
“We’re a 100-percent-organic house. My daughter is a vegetarian and practically vegan. That’s her choice. That’s how she eats. We’re really conscious about what we buy. Get some kale! Plant some green kale in your backyard and throw it into everything.”
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She also does her best to avoid stress — which she admits can be tough.
“That’s a hard thing to say to people, especially right now,” Applegate says. “We’re living in a bizarre time. We’re bombarded by what’s going on in our world. Breathe deeper. That’s a big one for me. I used to be a stressed-out person. I’m not anymore. I try to find the lining in everything in life.”
And Applegate sees her oncologist every six months for a checkup — an improvement over her previous visits of every three months.
“I don’t need mammograms anymore. I don’t have breasts. They still check me out as if I had all my parts. That’s never going to go away,” she says. “If you know you’re high risk, you need to go start as soon as possible.”
Applegate founded the non-profit Right Action for Women to so more women have access to genetic testing.
“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 says. “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.”
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Much like Applegate, Angelina Jolie also has the BRCA1 mutation, and chose to have a double mastectomy in 2013 and her ovaries removed in 2015 to reduce her risk of developing cancer.
“I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family,” Jolie wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times in 2015. “I know my children will never have to say, ‘Mom died of ovarian cancer.’ ”