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Olivia Munn’s Doctor Answers Questions On Breast Cancer Testing

Home / News / Olivia Munn’s Doctor Answers Questions On Breast Cancer Testing

By Afouda Bamidele on March 14, 2024 at 2:15 PM EDT

Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi is sharing insights on interpreting a Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Score following Olivia Munn's acknowledgment that the tool "saved" her life. 

The "Office Christmas Party" actress shared the nugget while announcing her breast cancer diagnosis earlier this week.

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Olivia Munn's Doctor Believes Early Detection Saved Her Life

As per the National Cancer Institute, the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool [BCRAT], also known as The Gail Model, is utilized by healthcare providers to gauge a woman's likelihood of developing invasive breast cancer within the next five years and throughout her lifetime (up to age 90). 

The assessment, which can be completed in five minutes, relies on personal information such as age, age at first menstruation, age at first childbirth, family history of breast cancer, previous breast biopsies — whether positive or negative, race/ethnicity, and instances of atypical hyperplasia in past biopsies.

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Thanks to BCRAT's abilities, Dr. Aliabadi determined that Munn's lifetime risk for breast cancer was 37.3%. The information prompted the University of Oklahoma graduate to undergo further diagnostic tests, including an MRI, ultrasound, and biopsies. 

Ultimately, the results revealed the presence of Luminal B breast cancer, described as a particularly aggressive and rapidly advancing type of cancer, in both breasts.

When asked about the score during a recent "Today" show appearance, Dr. Aliabadi shared her approach to helping patients interpret it. She explained:

"I tell my patients, 'If you had a 37 and a half percent chance of boarding a plane that would crash, would you ever board that plane?'" 

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The esteemed OBGYN also emphasized that if Munn had not pursued treatment, "her cancer would have continued to progress."

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Olivia Munn Dubbed Dr. Aliabadi Her 'Guardian Angel'

Olivia Munn attends the 96th Annual Academy Awards

Munn expressed the same sentiment in her Instagram, where she disclosed, "I'm lucky. We caught it with enough time that I had options." 

Alongside multiple pictures of herself in a hospital gown and room, the "Ride Along 2" actress informed her followers:

"In the past ten months I have had four surgeries, so many days spent in bed I can't even count and have learned more about cancer, cancer treatment and hormones than I ever could have imagined."

As it turned out, one of the surgeries included a double mastectomy, a procedure that involves the removal of breast tissue and the placement of temporary fillers.

Munn concluded her lengthy statement by thanking everybody who "loved her through" the journey, including her loved ones, the medical staff, and her "guardian angel," Dr. Aliabadi.

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Munn's Openness About Her Diagnosis Inspired Her Fans

Olivia Munn

In the aftermath of the update, the mother of one received an avalanche of support from her fans. One such fan declared, "Your strength is phenomenal. Thank you for sharing and giving us this inspiration.

A second supporter effused, "Thank you for sharing and connecting with us on such a deep level. You are brilliant and have the perfect support system around you," as a third person noted:

"You probably saved more people than you know with this post and the information you put in it. You're incredibly strong to share this and we will be thinking and praying for you."

Angelina Jolie Previously Shared Her Own Testing Story

Angelina Jolie

Amid the outpour of love, Munn's candid disclosure brought to mind Angelina Jolie's 2013 op-ed, where the "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" actress shared her own experience with cancer testing. 

Jolie revealed that she pursued the BRCA test because her children were curious about whether her fate mirrored that of her mother, who fought cancer for nearly ten years before passing away at 56. 

The filmmaker shared that despite reassuring her children not to worry, she grappled with a "faulty" gene — BRCA1 — which substantially increased her chances of developing breast cancer to 87% and ovarian cancer to 50%.

Upon discovering her heightened risk of breast cancer, Jolie chose to undergo a preventive double mastectomy. 

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Men Get Breast Cancer Too

Beyoncé and her dad Matthew Knowles

Although breast cancer primarily affects women, the slight chance of it occurring in men is there. Proof of that chance emerged when Beyoncé's father, Matthew Knowles, received a breast cancer diagnosis at 67. 

As The Blast reported, the producer initially noticed small blood spots on his shirt and bedsheets, causing him to seek medical attention. Following successful treatment of the ailment, he underwent genetic testing, revealing that he carries the BRCA2 gene mutation. 

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

Since his diagnosis, Knowles has been dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer in men, as it is often detected later due to limited awareness, leading to potentially more severe outcomes.

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