5 Celebrities Who Have Spoken Up About Breast Cancer Testing Like Olivia Munn

Joining Olivia Munn: Celebrities Vocal About The Importance Of Breast Cancer Testing

Home / News / Joining Olivia Munn: Celebrities Vocal About The Importance Of Breast Cancer Testing

By Afouda Bamidele on March 13, 2024 at 4:04 PM EDT

Olivia Munn's update about her breast cancer diagnosis has unsurprisingly recalled other celebrities' decisions to share their own testing stories. 

Just like Munn, other celebrities, including Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé's father, disclosed learning about their likelihood of having cancer after they proactively took a test.

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Olivia Munn Announced Her Cancer Diagnosis Following A BRCA Test

Olivia Munn attends the 96th Annual Academy Awards

On Tuesday, Munn nearly broke the internet after she went live with her breast cancer diagnosis.

In the statement shared via Instagram, she told her 2.9 million followers that she preemptively took "a genetic test that checks you for 90 different cancer genes." 

As she explained, she "tested negative for all, including BRA (the most well-known breast cancer gene)." However, it was not until two months after she took "a normal mammogram" that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Despite that admission, the "New Girl" alum emphasized that it was ultimately her OBGYN, Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi's decision to test her Breast Cancer Risk Assessment [BCRA] Score that helped her discover her condition. As she told her fans:

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"She discovered my lifetime risk was at 37%. Because of that score, I was sent to get an MRI, which led to an ultrasound, which then led to a biopsy." 

Munn's statement detailed that the biopsy revealed that she had Luminal B cancer, "an aggressive, fast-moving cancer," in both breasts.

Even though she had to undergo a double mastectomy, the actress could not have been happier to find out about her diagnosis when she still "had options" to fight it.

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Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie Maleficent Mistress of evil photocall

In light of Munn's candid disclosure, fans were reminded of the op-Ed that Angeline Jolie wrote in the New York Times regarding her own cancer testing in 2013.

According to the "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" actress, she had to undergo the BRCA test because her kids often wondered if her fate was similar to that of her mother.

In case you missed it, Jolie's mother had courageously battled cancer for nearly a decade before passing away at 56.

The filmmaker wrote that even though she reassured her children not to worry, she had to deal with a "faulty" gene — the BRCA1, which significantly elevated her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

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"My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman," the mother of six penned.

Just like Munn, once she learned of her propensity to get breast cancer, Jolie opted for a preventive double mastectomy, which involved the removal of breast tissue and the placement of temporary fillers. 

While noting that the weeks-long procedure was far from easy, the Los Angeles native emphasized her gratitude that she could decide since it resulted in her risk of developing breast cancer plummeting from 87 percent to under five percent.

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Christina Applegate

Christina Applegate at the 26th Annual SAG Awards

Even though many have assumed that breast cancer predominantly affects older women, it can also occur in younger women, as exemplified by Christina Applegate.

Per Everyday Health, the Primetime Emmy Awards recipient was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2008 at 36. 

Initially undergoing a lumpectomy, she later discovered that she carried the BRCA1 genetic mutation. In response, she chose to undergo a double mastectomy followed by the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Similarly, rock star and nine-time Grammy Award-winner Sheryl Crow received a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a non-invasive form of breast cancer, at the age of 44. Fortunately, the tumor was detected at an early stage during her routine annual mammogram. 

Following a lumpectomy and seven weeks of radiation therapy, she received a clean bill of health and was declared cancer-free.

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Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton John, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky

Singer Olivia Newton-John received a breast cancer diagnosis in 1992 after a self-examination prompted her to seek further testing from her doctor. 

Reflecting on her experience, Newton-John shared, "I wasn't feeling right, and I had found lumps before, but this time, it just felt different." 

Despite negative results from a mammogram and needle biopsy, her instincts urged her to pursue additional investigation. Subsequently, after a surgical biopsy, cancer was detected.

Matthew Knowles

Beyoncé and her dad Matthew Knowles

Although breast cancer predominantly affects women, it can also occur in men. Details of such rare cases surfaced when Beyoncé's father, Matthew Knowles, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 67. 

As it turned out, and PEOPLE highlighted, the producer had initially noticed small blood spots on his shirt and bedsheets, prompting him to see a doctor. Following successful treatment of the condition, Knowles underwent genetic testing and discovered that he carries the BRCA2 gene mutation. 

Besides increasing the risk of breast cancer, the BRCA2 gene also elevates the likelihood of developing ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma.

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Since his diagnosis, Knowles has become committed to raising awareness about the risk of breast cancer in men, as it is often detected later due to a lack of awareness, leading to potentially more fatal outcomes.

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