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Actress Olivia Munn Is Battling Breast Cancer
  • Posted March 14, 2024

Actress Olivia Munn Is Battling Breast Cancer

Actress and "X-Men" star Olivia Munn announced Wednesday that she has been fighting breast cancer.

Posting on her Instagram account, beside a photo of herself in a hospital bed, Munn wrote,  “I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I hope by sharing this it will help others find comfort, inspiration and support on their own journey.”

In the post, she explained that in February of last year, she and her sister Sara both decided to undergo testing that looked for 90 different cancer genes.

“I tested negative for all, including BRCA [the most well-known breast cancer gene]. My sister Sara had just tested negative as well,” Munn, 43, wrote. “We called each other and high-fived over the phone. That same winter I also had a normal mammogram. Two months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.”

It's been a tough road since then, Munn continued, with four surgeries conducted over the past 10 months, including a double mastectomy undergone one month after her biopsy.

Munn says she's also spent time learning "more about cancer, cancer treatment and hormones than I ever could have imagined.”

She said that her diagnosis came about after her ob-gyn suggested that she have her “Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Score" assessed. The score includes factors such as age, family breast cancer history and history of childbirth.

"Because of that score I went to get an MRI, which led to an ultrasound, which then led to a biopsy,” Munn said. “The biopsy showed I had Luminal B cancer in both breasts. Luminal B is an aggressive, fast-moving cancer.”

According to the Breast Cancer Foundation Susan G. Komen, "women with luminal B tumors are often diagnosed at a younger age."

The tumors comprise about 15% to 20% of breast cancers, but "women with luminal B tumors tend to have fairly high survival rates," the organization noted.

Munn said she feels “lucky” because “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,” she wrote. “Ask your doctor to calculate your Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Score.”

Dr. Ruth Oratz is a breast medical oncologist at NYU Langone Health's Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York City. She explained that the score "allows healthcare professionals to calculate the probability of a woman developing breast cancer over the course of her lifetime."

"It provides the probability or chance of breast cancer within the next 5 years, as well as up to age 90," Oratz added. "The model takes into consideration the woman's age, family history -- whether any first- or second-degree relatives have had breast cancer, whether or not she has had a prior breast biopsy and also information about reproductive history, including age of first menstrual period and pregnancy." 

It's all about helping women make informed decisions, according to Oratz, who is also a clinical professor of medicine at NYU.

"Having information empowers patients," she said. "It is very important for people to be aware of their health risks, their family history and their own personal medical conditions. All of these things can affect the risk of developing cancer."

More information

Find out more about breast cancer and its detection at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Ruth Oratz, MD, breast medical oncologist, NYU Langone Health's Perlmutter Cancer Center, and clinical professor, medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York City; Olivia Munn, Instagram; Breast Cancer Foundation Susan G. Komen

What This Means for You

Actress Olivia Munn is urging other women to get their risk for breast cancer assessed by professionals; she credits that move with catching her breast cancer early.

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