Christina Applegate Pregnant After Surviving Breast Cancer
Actress Christina Applegate has announced that she and her fiancé, Martyn Lenoble, are expecting their first child together. Applegate is a two-year survivor of breast cancer. A recent study from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has found that pregnancy is safe for breast cancer survivors, and may even have a protective effect.
After being diagnosed with the disease, Christina underwent a double mastectomy in 2008. This helped her to avoid radiation and chemotherapy. She reveals that she has found that she has a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which makes her more susceptible to female cancers, specifically breast and ovarian. Christina has since had both breasts reconstructed.
Because more women are delaying having children until their late thirties and early forties, more women are facing questions involving pregnancy, fertility, and breast cancer. One in four new breast cancer cases occurs in women of childbearing age. Today, more than 250,000 women under the age of 40 in the US are breast cancer survivors.
During pregnancy, women’s breasts are exposed to large amounts of estrogen and other hormones known to prompt the growth of some cancers, but, according to breastcancer.org, studies have shown that there is no apparent long-term increased risk of cancer recurrence or death in women who became pregnant after a breast cancer diagnosis. Pregnancy also does not appear to cause new cancers to develop.
"Breast cancer itself has no impact on getting pregnant," said Dr. Eric Winer, director of the breast oncology center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "The studies are cautiously reassuring. We are pretty sure that getting pregnant won't cause recurrence, and some studies show there may be a protective effect for women who get pregnant after breast cancer treatment."
Christina Applegate credits her “small but mighty” support system with getting her through diagnosis and battle with breast cancer, and she is sure he will be just as helpful during pregnancy. The couple were engaged on Valentine’s Day, but have not yet set a wedding date.
Applegate has started a charitable foundation called “Right Action for Women” to raise awareness about the need for screening of breast cancer in women.