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Olivia Munn’s Breast Cancer Journey in Her Own Words: What She’s Said About Her Health Battle

Olivia Munns Breast Cancer Journey In Her Own Words
Olivia Munn Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Olivia Munn initially chose to keep her breast cancer diagnosis private, but she’s shared plenty of powerful details since coming forward with her journey.

“In February of 2023, in an effort to be proactive about my health, I took a genetic test that checks you for 90 different cancer genes,” Munn wrote via Instagram in March 2024. “I tested negative for all, including BRCA (the most well-known breast cancer gene). My sister Sara [Potts] had just tested negative as well. We called each other and high-fived over the phone. That same winter I also had a normal mammogram.”

Two months after her negative tests, Munn was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent multiple surgeries. “Surprisingly, I’ve only cried twice,” she continued. “I guess I haven’t felt like there was time to cry. My focus narrowed and I tabled any emotions that I felt would interfere with my ability to stay clearheaded.”

Following her diagnosis, Munn’s boyfriend, John Mulaney, stood by her side.

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“John has been a huge pillar of strength for Olivia throughout her health scare,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly in March 2024, noting that the couple’s son, Malcolm, also gave Munn the “courage and strength to keep fighting and overcome this.”

Olivia Munns Breast Cancer Journey In Her Own Words
Olivia Munn Jon Kopaloff/WireImage

The battle wasn’t easy, and during her treatment, Munn was advised to eliminate hormones to prevent her cancer from recurring. She faced the decision of either enduring bedrest while continuing medication or addressing the root cause through the surgical removal of certain organs.

“I did have one real moment of panic,” she recalled to Vogue in May 2024, revealing that she had a “full hysterectomy,” removing her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. “A real breakdown. Because it’s just so strange when you’ve been with this body your entire life, had your period for so long, feel when you’re ovulating, and all of a sudden it’s gone.”

Keep scrolling to see Munn’s candid quotes about her breast cancer journey:

March 2024

When coming forward with her diagnosis, Munn gave a shout-out to Mulaney for his loving support. “I’m so thankful for the nights he spent researching what every operation and medication meant and what side effects and recovery I could expect,” she wrote via Instagram. “For being there before I went into each surgery and being there when I woke up, always placing framed photos of our little boy Malcolm so it would be the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes.”

March 2024

“I’m really grateful for all the love and support I’ve received about my diagnosis that I shared yesterday,” she wrote in an Instagram Story following her initial reveal. “Reading your stories and comments has really meant a lot to me and I just wanted to express my gratitude for all of it.”

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April 2024

Munn told People that her health struggle was “more terrifying” while raising her son.

“Having a little baby at home made everything much more terrifying. It makes you realize, cancer does not care who you are,” she explained, noting that keeping her battle private allowed her to focus more intentionally on her healing. “It comes at you, and you have no choice but to face it head on.”

Olivia Munns Breast Cancer Journey In Her Own Words
Olivia Munn Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The actress “was in shock” when she saw herself after surgery, adding, “It was incredibly hard. … I remember just looking in the mirror with [the doctor] and just having no emotion, just taking in what he was saying.”

April 2024

“I have some divots and dents on one side of my body near where the lymph nodes were, and they had to really dig out,” Munn told People of hiding her scars. “And I’ve been wearing some dresses on the red carpet that made me a little stressed out at times.”

April 2024

Munn revealed that her son helped her navigate through dark days by sharing a video of herself laughing with Malcom via her Instagram Story.

“This moment was last summer when I had already had three surgeries and recovery-mentally and physically- was pretty rough,” she captioned the clip. “The smallest, silliest moments like this lifted me up every single time. My Malcolm.”

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May 2024

“I knew there was cancer happening inside of me, which was already giving me a panic,” the Newsroom alum told Vogue, recalling her hysterectomy. “And I knew that they were going to take everything out of my breasts, but that was all on the inside. When I realized things were going to change in ways people could see, too, I really realized things were going to be different.”

She added, “I had friends try to cheer me up by saying, ‘Malcolm’s not going to remember this. Don’t worry.’ But I just kept thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to remember this, that I missed all these things.’ It’s his childhood, but it’s my motherhood, and I don’t want to miss any of these parts if I don’t have to.”

May 2024

In her first on-camera interview since sharing her diagnosis, Munn told Good Morning America that “you never know what’s going on in someone’s life.”

“There’s a lot of other things that you feel like you can beat,” she explained. “But you know, cancer takes down a lot of people.”

Upon learning she had cancer, Munn said that she “just thought about my baby,” adding, “They said that if I was extremely aggressive, that I could fight this and win. But, at the same time, once they started finding all of these little spots in my breasts like, ‘Oh, there’s another tumor. There’s another tumor,’ there was such an urgency to it because we had to get in and make some really big decisions.”

Later that month, Munn appeared on the Kelly Clarkson Show and opened up about the tough love she got from her doctor.

“I wanted you to come in and see me in the office because I wanted to look you in the eye and tell you that you’re too young to have this much cancer in your breast,” Munn recalled her doctor telling her. “And you have a baby at home, and I need you to be aggressive because one is right by your lymph nodes and we need to move fast.”

Munn referred to the medical professional as her “guardian angel.”

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