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Olivia Munn's breast cancer diagnosis raising awareness for women to seek additional screening

Actress Olivia Munn's cancer diagnosis raises awareness for women to seek additional testing
Actress Olivia Munn's cancer diagnosis raises awareness for women to seek additional testing 02:57

Actress Olivia Munn's announcement about her private battle with breast cancer has gone viral since news broke early Wednesday morning. 

In the hours since, the video has been shared all over the world, showing the moments that she's comforted by her doctor as she prepares for treatment. 

Since her diagnosis last year, she's had four surgeries, including a double mastectomy. 

"I hope by sharing this it will help others find comfort, inspiration and support on their own journey," Munn's post said. 

Her diagnosis came even after the actress got a mammogram that came back normal and even took a test to trace cancer genes.

The post continued, detailing the lengthy journey and how one physician's recommendation for extra screening made all the difference. 

Their suggestion to calculate Munn's "Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Score" which revealed that her lifetime risk was high at 37%, leading to more testing and eventually her diagnosis. 

She's now sharing her story hoping that others can find comfort, inspiration and support and doctors are saying that the new public awareness could save many more lives. 

"I'm very, very happy she is spreading the word, though," said Dr. Amanda Woodworth, a breast surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC. "A lot of women do not realize that we recommend a risk assessment for all women, and the American College of Radiology recommends this risk assessment starting at age 25."

Woodworth says that assessments are available for free online and can be found by Googling "Breast Cancer Risk Quiz." On top of this, she recommends the Tyrer-Cuzick Calculator, which calculates a woman's risk of developing breast cancer by asking a series of questions about a patient's medical and family history. 

"It asks for your age, your heigh, your weight, when you started your periods, when you stopped, family history. That's all in there, so you can calculate it yourself," she said. 

Once you have your results, she suggests discussing them with your doctor to determine if next steps are necessary. Any result over 20% risk qualifies for an annual MRI. 

In Munn's case, Woodward says that the test led to an MRI and a biopsy that showed she had an aggressive and fast-moving cancer in both of her breasts. 

While scary for many, Dr. Woodworth says that getting answers can give options. 

"I really feel like no woman should ever die of breast cancer. We have such amazing tools for early detection and there's no reason we should not be detecting women at their earliest possible stages," she said. 

MRIs are typically covered by insurance as part of a diagnostic study. The American Cancer Society is currently fighting to have them covered as part of the screening for women who qualify.

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