Former world number one Chris Evert has been candid about her stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis.
The US champion, 67, revealed she is currently undergoing six weeks of chemotherapy, adding, “I’m very lucky they caught it early and I expect positive results from my chemo plan.”
In an article on ESPN, Evert said a malignant tumor was found during a preventive hysterectomy last month.
It comes after her younger sister, former professional tennis player Jeanne Evert Dubin, died of ovarian cancer in 2020 at the age of 62. Her sister’s cancer had spread before it was discovered, as she had no noticeable symptoms.
Likewise, Evert said, “I just couldn’t believe it. I’d been working out, doing CrossFit, playing tennis. I didn’t feel anything else.”
Evert said it was “devastating and traumatizing” to see her sister go through treatment.
She added: “When I go on chemo, she is my inspiration.
‘I’ll think of her. And she will help me through it.’
In the years since Jeanne’s diagnosis, genetic testing has evolved, so when Evert sent her blood for testing, she was found to have a pathogenic variant of the BRCA1 gene.
After consulting her doctor, she had a hysterectomy in early December — that’s when the cancer was discovered.
“70-80% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at stage 3 or 4,” said her surgeon, Dr. Joel Cardenas.
“In about three months she would be stage 3 or 4. If nothing is done, it will reach the abdomen.”
In the article, co-written by her friend Chris McKendry, Evert said she chose to share her diagnosis to help others.
“Ovarian cancer is a very deadly disease. Any information is power,” she said.
Dr. Cardenas said the key to early diagnosis — and in turn, a better prognosis — is to keep up with exams and know your family history.
“Ovarian cancer is rare,” he said. “However, if a patient has a family history, we encourage genetic testing and counseling.”
Evert won 18 Grand Slam singles titles during her career and is now a broadcaster for ESPN. She will occasionally appear from home during the network’s coverage of the Australian Open.
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