FridayFaces Christina Applegate
Christina Applegate started making us laugh in that show you may have heard of, Married with Children, when she was just a teenager and hasn't stopped since. She had us drooling with Ron Burgundy in Anchorman and had us doubled over in her most recent television success Samantha Who? (for which she received both an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination).
But in 2008 her life went from Comedy to Drama when she learned she had Breast Cancer at just 36 years old. Not a stranger to the disease, her mother is also a breast cancer survivor, she knew the importance of regular mammograms (despite her young age) and early detection. Thanks to that vigilance she caught her own cancer in it's early stages and was only required to have 6 weeks of radiation. That is, until she found out the results of her BRCA test. The test for the BRCA gene or "breast cancer gene" is a simple blood test. It determines if you carry the mutation that prevents the BRCA genes from fighting off cancer in your breasts and ovaries. If you do carry the mutation your risk of developing breast cancer goes up to 87%, which for Applegate, who tested positive for the mutation, was too much. Since she already had cancer in her left breast and was positive for the BRCA mutation, she knew that "radiation was something temporary, and it wasn't addressing the issue of this coming back or the chance of it coming back in my left breast. I sort of had to kind of weigh all my options at that point." As a result Applegate decided to have a bilateral mastectomy, but not before having her last nude photo shoot. "I made sure that I have close-up photographs of them from every angle so I can kind of remember them."
Now, Applegate is not only cancer free but also expecting her first child with fiance, Dutch bass player, Martyn Lenoble! Despite the Drama detour her life took 2 years ago, Applegate is back on the up and up but she continues to "go out and fight as hard as I can for early detection." And she's not just pushing for early mammograms. Because of the density of her breasts, Applegate had to get an MRI in order for her doctors to examine her breast tissue more accurately - that's when they discovered "something funky going on in there," which lead Applegate down the tough path she is now, thankfully, able to say is behind her. Most insurance companies won't cover MRIs or the BRCA genetic test for women as young as Applegate was but she is fighting for that to change as well.
For more information on Applegate's story and the BRCA test check out her interview with Oprah