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Olivia Munn Gets Emotional About Her Mastectomy: “All You Want To Do Is Pick Up Your Baby”
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Olivia Munn Gets Emotional About Her Mastectomy: “All You Want To Do Is Pick Up Your Baby”

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Olivia Munn has spoken candidly about the physical and emotional changes she experienced after undergoing a 10-hour double mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis.

Doctors discovered stage 1 invasive breast cancer in both of her breasts in April 2023. The life-saving diagnosis was due to her OB-GYN’s decision to calculate her lifetime breast cancer risk score during her annual routine pap smear. 

Highlights
  • Olivia Munn underwent a 10-hour double mastectomy after being diagnosed with stage 1 invasive breast cancer in both breasts.
  • During the surgery, doctors found a "tangerine-sized" section of DCIS, the earlier form of breast cancer, in her right breast.
  • Post-surgery, Olivia faced challenges such as not being able to pick up her son, Malcolm, which she found emotionally tough.

When the results came back, the 43-year-old actress learned that she’d have to undergo a lymph node dissection, a nipple delay procedure, and a double mastectomy, all in the span of a month.

A mastectomy is a surgery to remove all breast tissue from a breast. It’s mostly performed to treat or prevent breast cancer.

Image credits: oliviamunn

“I really tried to be prepared, but the truth is that nothing could prepare me for what I would feel like, what it would look like, how I would handle it emotionally,” the X-Men actress explained to People

“It was a lot tougher than I expected,” she said of the procedure, which she underwent on May 24, 2023.

During surgery, doctors discovered a “tangerine-sized” section of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in her right breast.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s considered the earliest form of breast cancer and is noninvasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct and has a low risk of becoming invasive.

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“Hearing that news gave me peace that I’d made the right decision,” the Newsroom star shared.

The Iron Man 2 actress said realizing she couldn’t pick up her baby was one of the most challenging aspects of her post-operative process

Image credits: oliviamunn

The Oklahoma-born star shares son Malcolm, now two years old, with actor and comedian John Mulaney

Image credits: oliviamunn

Wanting to allow her body to heal following the operation, the author of Suck It, Wonder Woman! opted for expanders instead of immediate reconstructive surgery.

A tissue expander is an empty breast implant filled over time with liquid or air. As it grows, the expander stretches the tissue around it, making space for a permanent breast implant. 

Getting used to her new appearance wasn’t easy. To Olivia, removing her bandages was shocking not only because she was presented with a drastically different body but also because her new image was a reminder of the traumatic experience she had gone through.

“I saw myself for the first time, and I was in shock. It was incredibly hard.”

“I remember just looking in the mirror with him and just having no emotion, just taking in what he was saying.” 

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“When I got home, I undressed and looked in the mirror again, and that’s when I just absolutely broke down,” the mother added.

“I really tried to be prepared, but the truth is that nothing could prepare me for what I would feel like, what it would look like, how I would handle it emotionally”

Image credits: oliviamunn

The Magic Mike actress underwent reconstructive surgery in the fall, which made her feel more confident. “It’s much better, but it’s not the same, and that’s okay.”

One of the most challenging aspects of her double mastectomy surgery was not being able to pick up her son, Malcolm, then one year old.

“When I get home, three days later, Malcolm runs up, and he said, ‘Mama, pick [me] up?'”

“And I said, ‘Oh I can’t pick you up.’ And I squatted down to give him a hug, and then he just sat on my leg and goes, ‘But Mama, pick [me] up!’ That was probably one of the hardest things because all you want to do is pick up your baby.”

Olivia shares Malcolm with stand-up comedian John Mulaney, whom she began dating in 2021.

Watch a clip from her interview below:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by People Magazine (@people)

As she described, her son, now aged two, became aware of her health issue when he noticed that she wasn’t as active as before.

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 “I think the hardest thing is that I’ve spent a lot of time in bed,” the Oklahoma-born actress shared.

“One time I asked Malcolm, ‘Where does Daddy work?’ And he ran to his office and pointed to his desk. And I said, ‘Where does Mommy work?’ And he ran to my bed, and that crushed me.”

“When I’m with Malcolm, it’s really the only time your brain doesn’t think that you’re sick. I’m just so happy with him. And 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 what really matters to me. I get to be here for him.”

“It’s a shock that nobody can prepare you for,” a social media user shared

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Marina Urman

Marina Urman

Writer, BoredPanda staff

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Marina is a journalist at Bored Panda. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she holds a Bachelor of Social Science. In her spare time, you can find her baking sweet treats, reading, or binge-watching a docuseries on Netflix. Her main areas of interest are pop culture, literature, and education.

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Marina Urman

Marina Urman

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Marina is a journalist at Bored Panda. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she holds a Bachelor of Social Science. In her spare time, you can find her baking sweet treats, reading, or binge-watching a docuseries on Netflix. Her main areas of interest are pop culture, literature, and education.

Ugnė Lazauskaitė

Ugnė Lazauskaitė

Author, BoredPanda staff

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I am employed as a Visual Editor in the news team. I make sure you have the best pictures near the most interesting text. In general all day I am looking at all you favourite celebrities facies and I am geting payed for it!

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Ugnė Lazauskaitė

Ugnė Lazauskaitė

Author, BoredPanda staff

I am employed as a Visual Editor in the news team. I make sure you have the best pictures near the most interesting text. In general all day I am looking at all you favourite celebrities facies and I am geting payed for it!

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philiprutter avatar
Cosmikid
Community Member
4 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My mother went through this. Her comment: "First you get hit by a lightning bolt. Then you say 'Thank you.' Just crazy."

jr_15 avatar
PrettyJoyBird
Community Member
4 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Watched my younger sister in her early 30s go through this. Cancer free. She chose not to have reconstructive surgery. Life altering. She is alive and healthy all we could ask for.

rhodaguirreparras avatar
Pittsburgh rare
Community Member
4 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's one painful post op, both physically and emotionally. My best wishes for a full recovery.

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philiprutter avatar
Cosmikid
Community Member
4 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My mother went through this. Her comment: "First you get hit by a lightning bolt. Then you say 'Thank you.' Just crazy."

jr_15 avatar
PrettyJoyBird
Community Member
4 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Watched my younger sister in her early 30s go through this. Cancer free. She chose not to have reconstructive surgery. Life altering. She is alive and healthy all we could ask for.

rhodaguirreparras avatar
Pittsburgh rare
Community Member
4 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's one painful post op, both physically and emotionally. My best wishes for a full recovery.

Load More Comments
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