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Christina Applegate Explains Her Double Mastectomy

At age 36, a double mastectomy may seem extreme treatment for breast cancer, but as Christina Applegate explained on the Oprah Winfrey Show, her genes were stacked against her.

Applegate's mother survived breast cancer after being diagnosed with the disease back in the '70s. Having a female relative with breast cancer greatly increases a woman's risk for developing the disease, which is why Christina has been getting mammograms since she was 30 years old. Upping her chances even more, Applegate tested positive for the BRCA gene, which is sometimes referred to as the "breast cancer gene." Testing positive for the BRCA genetic mutation not only greatly increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, it also increases the chances of the cancer recurring. After weighing her options, Applegate decided rather quickly to have a double mastectomy, saying that as a Sagittarius she just needed to know how she was going to tackle the problem.

To see how she explained her decision-making process to Oprah, just


That [testing positive for the BRCA gene] sort of changed everything for me. Radiation was something temporary, and it wasn't addressing the issue of this [cancer] coming back or the chance of it coming back in my left breast. I sort of had to kind of weigh all my options at that point. It just seemed like, "I don't want to have to deal with this again. I don't want to keep putting that stuff in my body. I just want to be done with this." And I was just going to let them go.

Although she feels she made the right decision for her situation, considering her family history and genetic makeup, the surgery was still dramatic and painful — physically and emotionally. Another deciding factor was that after much research, Applegate found that they can make "some pretty boobies" these days. She has saline expanders in her chest to make space for future breast implants. Even thought she admits to crying daily, she is looking on the brighter side of things these days; Christina is happy that she will never have to wear a bra again. I for one am happy to see this funny gal with a smile on her face once again. And I am happy to know she beat breast cancer and to know that she is spreading the word on breast cancer detection and therapies.

If you were in her situation, what would you do? Tell me in the comments section below.


SimPoplacenel SimPoplacenel 5 years
I am 57 and I just had a double mastectomy and I feel so depressed and weepy. And uncomfortable
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i think that it's really impressive that she was able to make this decision, and i think that it HAS to be hard for her, but with all the support of family and friends, i can hope that she'll get through it ok. this is one of those things that will make other younger women think about their family history and start to be proactive about things in the hopes of preventing the spread of the disease and to increase the rate of people living and going into remisison
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
Wow, I was just talking about this with some friends ... I'm in awe of her.
baybelle baybelle 9 years
She did the right thing - of course she did. I *think* I'd do the same, I suppose, but so much of my identity is bound up in my breasts, I just can't imagine being faced with a choice like that.
superfoxml superfoxml 9 years
I just love her, and I'm so glad she took the proactive decision to save herself. And I'm kicking myself that I missed the Samantha Who premiere....I hear that's a good show.
spacebear spacebear 9 years
she is inspirational and has a great positive attitude and sense of humor
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
Yes. I watched my grandmother suffer through repeated, painful courses of radiation and it's horrible. If there were any way to avoid that before the cancer spread, I would do it in a second. Chemotherapy is like assaulting your own body from the inside. And in Christina's case, to know that it would come back again and again as it did with my poor grandma, I think she did the right thing. She's truly brave.
Allytta Allytta 9 years
she is talking about very serious and important things but her language is terrible, makes her sounds less believable. were was her publicist? she is a spokes person of a kind now for breast cancer survivors and an inspiration... she is brave to give her breasts up though, don't think i could do that.
princessgouveia princessgouveia 9 years
I know that I would miss them (as would my husband) but I think I would make the same choice. Unfortunately I'll probably be in the same boat in 15 years because of family history so its really comforting to see how well she's handling it and to know that there are other options then the months of chemo that my mother did.
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
This is huuuuuuuuuge...I Identity. Gosh she's pretty neat in my book
psterling psterling 9 years
Why should she even have to explain herself? Good for her to protect her future health and who are we to judge?
jenni_po jenni_po 9 years
Christina is such an inspiration. I love that there are beautiful, smart AND funny women like her in the spotlight. Glad she's looking on the brigher side of things. =] I'd for sure say sayonara to my little ones given Christina's situation, and I'd look forward to getting some bigger, perky new ones!
thelorax thelorax 9 years
I don't have much to begin with either, but that must have been a hard decision. I'm pretty sure I'd do the same thing.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I'd rather lose my boobs rather than losing, say, my hands or my eyes or something like that. I don't exactly have a lot of boobage to begin with, so I wouldn't be missing much!
esweet esweet 9 years
I would have had the double mastectomy. I could not deal with worrying every day whether the cancer would return
sushibananas sushibananas 9 years
I am totally flat chested to begin with, so I wouldn't be missing much! In light of Christina's family history, gene detection and risk factor, I would have had the double mastectomy if I were in her shoes. I admire her for sharing her story with the public. It's a good way to increase awareness, especially among younger women.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I'd probably do the same thing, much as I love the girls.
secrethoughts secrethoughts 9 years
Breasts aren't worth it. I would have done the same thing rather than to go through all the pain and cost of treatment and still have such a strong possibility of the cancer returning.
bchicgrl bchicgrl 9 years
With the family history and the gene, yeah I would no doubt have the mastectomy as well. I'd rather get it done in one big swoop then have the possibility of being right back at square one in a few years.
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