Olivia Munn has breast cancer, resulting in 4 surgeries in 10 months


Olivia Munn revealed that she had undergone a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Photo: AFP

Olivia Munn on March 13 revealed that she has been diagnosed with luminal B breast cancer and said that she hopes that sharing her news "will help others find comfort, inspiration and support on their own journey."

The star of The Newsroom and X-Men: Apocalypse announced her diagnosis in an Instagram post that included several behind-the-scenes photos from her "uncertain and overwhelming" health journey that referred to the four surgeries she said she had over 10 months.

In a statement accompanying the post, the 43-year-old actor said that she took a genetic test in February 2023 "in an effort to be proactive" about her health. She tested negative across 90 different cancer genes – including the common BRCA gene – and had a normal mammogram that same winter, but two months later she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Munn said that if her "guardian angel" OB-GYN – LA-based physician Dr Thais Aliabadi – didn't calculate her Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Score, she wouldn't have found her cancer for another year during her next scheduled mammogram.

"The fact that she did saved my life," Munn said. The actor shared that her lifetime risk score was 37%, and because of that, her doctor sent her to have an MRI, an ultrasound, and then a biopsy, which showed that she had luminal B cancer – an aggressive molecular cancer – in both breasts.

Thirty days after that biopsy, she had a double mastectomy, she said.

"I went from feeling completely fine one day to waking up in a hospital bed after a 10-hour surgery the next," Munn wrote.

"I'm lucky. We caught it with enough time that I had options. I want the same for any woman who might have to face this one day. Ask your doctor to calculate your Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Score. Dr Aliabadi says if that number is greater than 40%, you need annual mammograms and breast MRIs starting at age 30. "

Munn, who accompanied boyfriend John Mulaney to the Oscars on Sunday, went on to thank her medical team, her friends and family and the comedian, with whom she shares a young son.

"I'm so thankful for John for the nights he spent researching what every operation and medication meant and what side effects and recovery I could expect," she wrote, and for "being there before I went into each surgery and being there when I woke up, always placing framed photos of our little boy Malcolm so it would be the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes."

Munn added: "In the past 10 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. Surprisingly, I've only cried twice. I guess I haven't felt like there was time to cry. My focus narrowed and I tabled any emotions that I felt would interfere with my ability to stay clearheaded."

One of those cries appeared in a clip in her post, when her doctor appeared to be consoling her ahead of one of her procedures.

"I've kept the diagnosis and the worry and the recovery and the pain medicine and the paper gowns private. I needed to catch my breath and get through some of the hardest parts before sharing," she explained. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

John Mulaney (left) and Olivia Munn arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Photo: APJohn Mulaney (left) and Olivia Munn arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Photo: AP

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