Olivia Munn Details Shock of Cancer Diagnosis After Clean Mammography 3 Months Earlier

Olivia Munn reflected on the timeline of her shocking cancer diagnosis, which came just three months after testing negative.

By Olivia Modarelli Apr 17, 2024 9:46 PMTags
Watch: Olivia Munn Details “Terrifying” Breast Cancer Journey

Olivia Munn‘s life took an unexpected turn after being diagnosed with cancer

Like many, the Newsroom actress has always been proactive when it comes to her health. In fact, around a year ago, she had a mammogram exam and a BRCA gene test, both of which were negative.

"I was walking around thinking that I had no breast cancer," she explained to People in an interview published April 17. "I did all the tests that I knew about."

That is, until three months later when Olivia's doctor, OB-GYN Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi, intervened, saving her life when she decided to run another test—the Tyrer-Cuzick risk assessment calculator, on which Olivia scored a 37.3 percent. With a high-risk score being considered a 20 percent and higher, her doctor ordered an MRI.

Unlike the other tests Olivia had taken, the MRI was not clear and the 43-year-old was called to get an ultrasound the same day, which then led to an emergency biopsy the next day. 

Stars React to Olivia Munn's Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Three days after the biopsy, she was called in to see Dr. Aliabadi, where she was diagnosed with stage 1 Luminal B bilateral breast cancer. 

Upon finding cancer in both breasts, the doctors told her that a double mastectomy would be her best option

Although she wasn't keen on the idea, she told the outlet that, "at that point it was like, that's my only option, I felt, to be aggressive and to give myself the best shot at overcoming this."

So she went through with the life-changing operation.

"I saw myself for the first time and I was in shock," she explained of seeing herself in the doctor's office after the surgery. "It was incredibly hard,"

Instagram / Olivia Munn

Olivia, who shares 2-year-old son Malcolm with John Mulaney, continued, "When I got home, I undressed and looked in the mirror again, and that's when I just absolutely broke down." 

The reconstruction procedure eased some of that shock for Olivia. "It's much better, but it's not the same," she explained. "And that's okay because I'm here and I'm okay with that now."

And despite the hardships the operation created for her, the former Daily Show correspondent is thankful for it nonetheless

"I'm extremely happy that I had the option to have a double mastectomy," she shared. "I'm extremely happy that I got the opportunity to fight."

And this wasn't the only procedure Olivia underwent. She had four surgeries over the course of 10 months, including lymph node dissection and a nipple delay procedure.  

VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

Despite all she's been through, she still has a lot to smile about— one of those things being her son.  

"When I'm with Malcolm, it's really the only time your brain doesn't think about that you're sick," she shared. "It really puts a lot of stuff into perspective because if my body changes, I'm still his mom. If I have hot flashes, I'm still his mom. If I lose my hair, I'm still his mom. That's really what matters the most to me, I get to be here for him."

Olivia isn't the only celeb who has shared insight into their experience battling cancer. Read on for more stars who've opened up about their health journeys.

Jim Beaver

The actor, known for roles in The Boys and Supernatural, shared on Feb. 3, 2023, that he had battled prostate cancer for years and was cancer free.

Ariana Madix

"I had to have a lil bit o'cancer removed from my body and lymph nodes biopsied," the Vanderpump Rules star revealed to fans at the close of 2018. "(In the clear now!)"

Marcia Cross

The Desperate Housewives star revealed to fans in September 2018 that she survived anal cancer. "After posting a picture of myself here and uttering the words #cancer and #hairloss, I feel liberated, deliriously free and completely me," she shared on Instagram

Dustin Hoffman

The two-time Oscar winner underwent successful treatment for cancer, and his rep confirmed to E! News that doctors deemed Hoffman "surgically cured."

Hugh Jackman

The X-Men star was treated for his third basal cell carcinoma back in 2014, and after his third treatment, Jackman's rep told E! News that he's "all good" now.

In April 2023, Hugh had two biopsies for additional basal cell carcinoma. At the time, he told fans, "If I can just take this opportunity to remind you summer is coming for those of us in the northern hemisphere, please wear sunscreen."

Camille Grammer

The former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star celebrated one year of being cancer-free in January. The mother of two was diagnosed with endometrial cancer back in 2013 and underwent a radical hysterectomy.

Then in 2017, Camille had surgery to remove Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. 

Cobie Smulders

The Avengers: Age of Ultron actress battled ovarian cancer at the age of 25 and overcome odds when she welcomed two children with husband Taran Killam.

Dr. Drew Pinsky

TV host reveals he underwent surgery for prostate cancer in July 2013 and has since been given a clean bill of health.

Brooke Burke

The Dancing with the Stars cohost underwent successful surgery for thyroid cancer. The mother of four tweeted, "Thx for all the twitter love. I'm [home] recovering & resting."

Angie Everhart

"MY DR CALLED ME ON A SAT. MORNING TO TELL ME I AM CANCER FREE!!!!! #wootothemotherf--kinhoo," the actress tweeted after receiving the good news.

Christina Applegate

The Up All Night star was declared "100-percent clear" of breast cancer after treatment and a double mastectomy.

Michael C. Hall

The Dexter star used a hiatus from his hit series to slay Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Michelle Monaghan

The Australian actress revealed in October 2011 that she had a cancerous mole removed from her calf after her hubby encouraged her to get the suspicious-looking mark checked out.

Ewan McGregor

The Scot is trainspotting just fine these days after having a cancerous mole removed from beneath his right eye.

Sheryl Crow

The singer beat breast cancer in 2004 with a "minimally invasive" lumpectomy and radiation therapy.

Michael Douglas

The Oscar winner declared in early 2011 that his tumor was gone and he had throat cancer "beat."

Edie Falco

The Emmy winner whacked breast cancer in 2004.

Anderson Cooper

Surely the CNN veteran wears his SPF when he's braving the elements now after having a cancerous growth removed from under his left eye in 2008.

Kylie Minogue

The Australian pop star underwent successful surgery for breast cancer in 2005.

Barry Watson

The 7th Heaven star was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease when he was only 28. He's 37 now and looking good!

Maura Tierney

The ER fave had to abandon her role in Parenthood to fight breast cancer in 2009—but her treatment was a success and she was back on the red carpet in no time.

Sharon Osbourne

The America's Got Talent judge was diagnosed with colon cancer while shooting The Osbournes in 2002 and used the opportunity to stress the importance of regular screenings while attacking the #@%! with chemotherapy. She was declared cancer-free the following year.

Robert De Niro

The Oscar winner took prostate cancer down, down to Chinatown, in 2003, and has been in about 400 movies since then.

Robin Roberts

The Good Morning America cohost proudly flaunted her smooth scalp while undergoing chemotherapy to treat breast cancer in 2007.

Lance Armstrong

The champion cyclist battled back from stage-four testicular cancer before winning seven straight Tour de France titles.

Melissa Etheridge

The Grammy and Oscar winner became an inspiring activist after a lumpectomy and chemotherapy cleared her of breast cancer in 2005.

Julia Sweeney

The former Saturday Night Live standout mined her breast cancer battle for comedic material that turned into God Said Ha!, her successful one-woman show that eventually went to Broadway.

Cynthia Nixon

The Sex and the City star was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, and after surgery and radiation treatments, she was given the clear.

Samantha Harris

Harris underwent a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Sarah Paulson

The Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip star sports a scar on her back where doctors successfully removed a melanoma.

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