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Tennis icon Chris Evert is cancer free, thanks to ‘genetic road map’ her late sister left her

Evert also shared that she had a preventative double mastectomy after finding out she had the BRCA-1 variant.
/ Source: TODAY

Chris Evert is sharing some happy news with her followers.

The tennis legend revealed in a Jan. 17 op-ed published on that she is “cancer-free” after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer last November.

Evert began by sharing how her sister Jeanne’s death in 2020 from ovarian cancer helped her detect her cancer early by giving her a “genetic road map.”

“Jeanne wasn’t BRCA positive, but genetic testing revealed she had a BRCA-1 variant that was of ‘uncertain significance,’” she wrote, adding that while at first they didn’t recommend genetic testing for her and her siblings, things changed in November. “I got a call saying they had reclassified her BRCA variant — the significance was no longer uncertain, it was now very clearly pathogenic, and we should be tested. I was shocked, I didn’t even know that was possible.” 

After getting tested, she discovered that she had the same BRCA-1 variant as her sister and her pathology report found malignant cells and a tumor in my left fallopian tube.

“It is only because of the genetic road map my sister left behind and the power of scientific progress that we caught my cancer early enough to do something about it,” she wrote, adding that if she waited longer she would probably have been diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. “Instead, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 ovarian cancer, and I immediately began six rounds of chemotherapy.”

“Today, I’m cancer-free, and there’s a 90% chance that the ovarian cancer will never come back,” Evert wrote.

However, Evert’s journey wasn’t over. She warned people of BRCA mutations and the risks of developing breast cancer, as well as prostate and pancreatic cancers. Evert then shared how on Dec. 1, a year to the day after her hysterectomy, she had a double mastectomy.

“I held my breath while I waited for my pathology results. Luckily, the report came back clean and clear, and my risk of developing breast cancer has been reduced by more than 90%,” she wrote. Evert also said she has one more surgery left to complete reconstruction.

She concluded by encouraging people to learn about genetic testing.

“As relieved as I will be to get to the other side of this, I will always have a heavy heart. I will never heal from losing Jeanne, and I will never take for granted the gift she gave me in the process,” she wrote. “My sister’s journey saved my life, and I hope by sharing mine, I just might save somebody else’s.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously reported that while most breast and ovarian cancer cases aren’t hereditary, having certain BRCA mutations can significantly increase your risk for these cancers. Per the CDC, “About 50 out of 100 women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation will get breast cancer by the time they turn 70 years old, compared to only seven out of 100 women in the general United States population.”