Christina Applegate Shares Her Breast Cancer Journey

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on October 12, 2021

When she was only 36, Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer. The actress, who rose to fame playing Kelly Bundy on Married...With Children in 1987 and has since continued to work on Broadway, in movies, and in television, has a family history of breast cancer. Her mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer in her 30s and again in her 50s. 

Appelgate started regular breast cancer screenings at age 30 because of her mother's history. After her diagnosis, Applegate opted to have a double mastectomy, even though her cancer was only in one breast because she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. While only 13% of women in the general population will develop breast cancer, 55% to 72% of women with the BRCA1 gene mutation will develop it. 

The BRCA1 gene mutation also increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer, from 1.3% to 39% to 44%. Because of this and a family history of ovarian cancer, Christina elected to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in 2017.  

In addition to preventative surgeries, Applegate tries to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. She encourages people to avoid foods that are filled with chemicals and to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. She's also a big believer in managing stress. Although she used to be super stressed, she tries to find the silver lining in everything now. Her experience with breast cancer at such a young age led her to found Right Action for Women to help at-risk women pay for MRIs and other cancer screenings. 

Her latest project has been starring in the Emmy-nominated Netflix series Dead to Me, which is going into its third season. Recently, Christina's health journey has taken another turn with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). She stated that she's been supported by others who have MS. Keeping her positive outlook, the actress recently tweeted, "It’s been a tough road. But as we all know, the road keeps going." 

Show Sources


National Breast Cancer Foundation: "What celebrities have or have had breast cancer?"

National Cancer Institute: "BRCA Gene Mutations: Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing."

TODAY: "Actress Christina Applegate reveals she had her ovaries, fallopian tubes removed."

The Washington Post: "Christina Applegate announces she has multiple sclerosis: ‘It’s been a tough road’."

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