Cancer Type – Breast

Bio – Christina Applegate when finding out she had the breast cancer gene changed her approach to treatment, and ultimately led to starting her own foundation, Right Action for Women. Read her story her…

Short Story – The first thing Melissa Etheridge said to Christina Applegate when she reached out for support, “Christina, this is a blessing that’s happened to you in your life. Right now, you get to start over, and right now you get to change everything — the way that you deal with things in life, the way that you react to things. Fear can hurt you. Stress can hurt you. This is the time that you have this opportunity to change the way you eat… everything you do.”

Her career lit up when she played Kelly Bundy on the hit sitcom “Married with Children” and continued stardom when she landed a starring role on “Samantha Who?” (Which earned her both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations) She seemed on fire in her life and career, and then cancer showed up in April 2008. She was only 36 years old.

Due to her mother’s personal battle with breast cancer (she is a survivor), Christina had been getting regular mammograms since she was 30 years old. And in 2007, doctors recommended an MRI due to the denseness of her breasts.

MRI results led to a biopsy, which led to cancer, which led to survival mode for the actress.

The day after her diagnosis, Christina says she went in to see an oncologist and a surgeon. “I’m a Sagittarius,” she says. “We need things done now. So, for me, I had to get in now, and I wanted to have my surgery now.”

Within a week, Christina had her first lumpectomy. It appeared she would only have six weeks of radiation instead of chemotherapy. But when her test for the breast cancer gene, BRCA, came back positive, it changed everything. She had a choice, radiation and regular check-ups or remove her breasts.

The first emotional toll seemed easy compared to the loss and physical pain she felt after having the double mastectomy in July 2008. She is grateful she made the decision, and for the progressive changes it brought to her life. Although the emotions can be a bit of a roller coaster at times, Applegate continues to fight for women to have access to MRI’s and genetic testing who may not have accessible access or funds for it.

We are lucky to have your voice Christina. She is committed to paying it forward and founded Right Action for Women who provides aid to individuals who are at increased risk for breast cancer and do not have insurance or can’t cover the high costs associated with breast screenings, among other support.

“I found out about how women were not going to have MRIs because of the cost and a lot of insurance companies don’t cover the cost….and I just got really angry,” Applegate said. “I started Right Action for Women to help provide the funds for women who did need MRI screenings and weren’t able to pay for it themselves.”

The Right Action for Women website provides many resources for breast cancer. Applegate hopes the foundation can help women prevent a cancer diagnosis.

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Image Credits – By Gage Skidmore [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


BornNovember 25, 1971 (age 45), Hollywood, California, U.S.
Years active1972–present
Notable workKelly Bundy in Married… with Children
Spouse(s)Johnathon Schaech (m. 2001; div. 2007), Martyn LeNoble (m. 2013)
Parent(s)Robert Applegate, Nancy Priddy