Chris Evert's Ovarian Cancer Battle
- Tennis legend Chris Evert is providing another important update on her grueling ovarian cancer battle, which has included six rounds of chemotherapy
- Evert was diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer, catching it early following genetic testing that revealed the BRCA gene after her sister Jeanne’s death from the same cancer in 2020.
- Breast and ovarian cancers can run in families, and the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations can elevate a person’s risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and other types of cancers.
- Evert credits her sister’s death with saving her life.
Evert won 18 grand slam titles from 1974 to 1986.
But her toughest fight was beating ovarian cancer, which claimed her sister Jeanne Evert Dubin’s life in 2020 at the age of 62.
“Two years after Jeanne died I got a call from the geneticist who stored her blood. A new variant had emerged and Jeanne had a gene of uncertain significance. They tested it and she was positive for BRCA [genetic proof of being susceptible to breast or ovarian cancer] so right away they said: ‘You have to be tested,’” she recalled.
“I tested positive for BRCA. My doctor said you need to have a hysterectomy right away. It was just a precaution because I felt so healthy. They found cancer in my fallopian tube and one ovary, and in the fluid around my reproductive organs.”
Breast and ovarian cancers can run in families, and the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations can elevate a person’s risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and other types of cancers.
In May, Evert shared the exciting news that she had completed her sixth and final chemotherapy treatment for stage 1 ovarian cancer.
“I’m a little out of it (meds) but nonetheless, thankful and relieved I finished my 6 chemo treatments,” she posted to Twitter on May 9, along with a video of herself ringing the bell.
Evert credits her sister’s death with saving her life.
“If it had not been for Jeanne’s death I would not be alive. So I want to get the word out about genetic testing – not just for ovarian cancer but heart conditions, diabetes, everything,” she said. “Be aware of your genetic history and if you feel anything different in your body for three days, see your doctor. Don’t wait three months.”
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms
Ovarian cancer has been called “the cancer that whispers,” due to its hard-to-detect symptoms. Dr. Beth Karlan, a gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Medical Center, explains in an earlier interview, “What we’ve found from multiple studies, it’s this constellation of symptoms,” she said.
“If that’s really happening and you’re experiencing it every day, and they seem to be crescendo-ing, getting worse, even if that goes on for only two weeks, you should call your doctor.”
Ovarian cancer symptoms may include:
Feeling full earlier/decrease in appetite
Changes in bowel habits
Pain in the pelvis
Urinary symptoms, such as an urgent need to go
Pain during sex