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Olivia Munn Underwent Hysterectomy After Breast Cancer Diagnosis
  • Posted May 13, 2024

Olivia Munn Underwent Hysterectomy After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Actress and "X-men" star Olivia Munn has revealed that she underwent egg retrieval and then a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

In an article published on Mother's Day, Munn told Vogue she opted for hysterectomy because it allowed her to avoid using an estrogen-suppressing cancer drug called Lupron, which left her drained of energy.

Munn, 43, said she made the decision for Malcolm, her 2-year old son with her husband, the actor and comedian John Mulaney.

“It was a big decision to make, but it was the best decision for me because I needed to be present for my family," Munn said. "I had friends try to cheer me up by saying, ‘Malcolm's not going to remember this. Don't worry.'"

"But I just kept thinking to myself, ‘I'm going to remember this, that I missed all these things,'” she added. “It's his childhood, but it's my motherhood, and I don't want to miss any of these parts if I don't have to.”

A surprise diagnosis

Munn first announced her diagnosis of breast cancer in an Instagram post on March 14.

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 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.”

'Debilitating'

Part of her cancer treatment involved taking the estrogen-suppressing drug Lupron, but Munn said it left her totally exhausted.

“The side effects of the medication hit me almost immediately,” she told Vogue. “It was next-level, debilitating exhaustion. I would wake up in the morning and almost immediately need to get back into bed.”

Doctors offered hysterectomy as an alternative treatment to Lupron.

So, last month, Munn said she underwent operations to take out "my uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries."

Of course, doing so eliminates the possibility that she can carry future children. But she and Mulaney had undergone several rounds of egg retrieval prior to the hysterectomy.

“After my diagnosis, we decided to try one more round of egg retrievals and hoped it was a good month," she said. "John and I talked about it a lot and we don't feel like we're done growing our family, but didn't know if I would have to do chemotherapy or radiation,” which could affect her ability to get pregnant. 

Munn's doctor soon called to tell her that she and Mulaney had two healthy embryos.

“John and I just started crying. It was just so exciting because not only did we get it in one retrieval, but it also meant that I didn't have to keep putting myself at risk. It was just amazing,” Munn said.

“This journey has made me realize how grateful I am to have options for not only fighting cancer, but also having more children if we want, because I know a lot of people don't have those options,” she added.

More information

Find out more about luminal B breast tumors at the Mayo Clinic.

SOURCES: Olivia Munn, Instagram; Breast Cancer Foundation Susan G. Komen; Vogue

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