Christina Applegate was no stranger to cancer since her mother had fought breast and ovarian cancer, which made her particularly aware of the potential problem. The actress began regular mammograms when she was 30 years old. In 2008, Christina Applegate found out she suffered from breast cancer herself. After her initial shock and subsequent treatment for the disease, she is now dedicated to raising awareness about early detection of breast cancer.
When she was 36, Applegate’s doctors told her that her breasts were too dense for potential problems to be detected by a mammogram, and that she needed MRI screening. During one routine MRI at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, her fears were confirmed. The actress, who is now 44, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though the disease was caught early, Applegate opted to undergo a double mastectomy due to her family history and the BRCA1 mutation she carries.
As she dealt with the disease, Applegate realized that not all women had the same resources that she was fortunate to have. She was told by others in the medical profession that some of the tests and procedures were not covered by insurance and many women could not afford them. Applegate, determined to help these women, in 2009 founded a donation-based charitable organization called Right Action for Women (RAW).
The aim of the organization is to offer financial assistance for MRIs and other testing, as well as education for women who might be at high-risk for breast cancer. One of the initiatives of Right Action for Women is a line of pink workout clothes and sneakers, launched in collaboration with the fitness brand ASICS.
“Their support has been invaluable. They have provided hundreds of women with MRIs by having RAW be the beneficiary these last three years,” Applegate said in an interview with Elle magazine.
In addition to raising awareness for the disease and funding to help women in need, the workout line is also a way of calling attention for the need to be active exercise regularly to improve overall health and reduce the risk of breast cancer. Applegate herself has decided to change her lifestyle after going through breast cancer. She has become more conscious about diet and exercise, and recommends other women do so as well.
“There are a lot of factors as to how cancer happens. I have talked to women who do yoga, who are vegan, who have never smoked and/or never drank a day in their life, but they have Stage 4 breast cancer. So you do what you can to be as healthy as you can if you know you’re high-risk because yes, all those things can factor into that,” she said. “We should always take care of ourselves because there are many other things that we should be [aware of]: diabetes, obesity, heart disease.”
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