Tennis legend Chris Evert revealed in a statement on social media that she has been diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer.
Evert, who has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and three Grand Slam doubles titles during her illustrious career, shared her diagnosis in a Twitter post.
“I wanted to share my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis and the story behind it as a way to help others,” she wrote. “I feel very lucky that they caught it early an expect positive results from my chemo plan. Thanks to Chris McKendry for her friendship and co-writing this very personal story with me. And thanks to all of you for respecting my need to focus on my health and treatment plan.”
“You will see me appear from home at times during ESPN’s coverage of the Aussie Open,” she said.
Evert also shared a link to a story she co-wrote with ESPN journalist, Chris McKendry, which detailed her diagnosis and her plans for treatment.
The ESPN story revealed that Evert, 67, learned of her diagnosis at the beginning of December. The tennis star had undergone genetic testing in October, which showed she was at increased risk for ovarian cancer, so she had a preventive hysterectomy. After the surgery, a pathology report showed a malignant tumor in her fallopian tube, which would require a surgery and chemotherapy.
“I’ve lived a very charmed life. Now I have some challenges ahead of me,” Evert said. “But, I have comfort in knowing the chemotherapy is to ensure that cancer does not come back ... As someone who has always had control over my life, I have no idea how I’ll respond to chemotherapy. I have to give in to something higher."
Evert’s younger sister, Jeanne Evert Dubin, was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer, though the disease was found at a later stage. In Feb. 2020, Evert Dubin died from the illness at the age of 62.
The tennis star cited her late sister as a source of “inspiration” who she’ll be thinking of as she undergoes chemo. Evert began the treatment this week.
“I’ll be thinking of her,” Evert said. “And she’ll get me through it.”
Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague, making it difficult to detect early on. According to the American Cancer Society, only about 20% of ovarian cancers are found early.
Last September, Dr. Natalie Azar shared possible symptoms to look out for on TODAY, which include bloating, feeling full too quickly, difficulty eating, pelvic pain or pressure, abdominal or back pain, more frequent urination, constipation and abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge.
Risk factors also include age, family history of breast, ovarian, or colorectal cancer, and a personal history of breast cancer.