Former world number one Chris Evert has been diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer.
The US champion, 67, revealed that she is currently undergoing six weeks of chemotherapy, adding: “I feel very lucky that they caught it early and I’m looking forward to positive results from my chemo plan.”
In an article on ESPN, Evert said a malignant tumor was discovered during a preventative hysterectomy last month.
It comes after her younger sister, former professional tennis player Jeanne Evert Dubin, died of ovarian cancer in 2020 aged 62. Her sister’s cancer had spread before it was detected, as she had no noticeable symptoms.
Similarly, Evert said, “I just couldn’t believe it. I was working out, doing CrossFit, playing tennis. I didn’t feel anything different.”
Evert said seeing her sister go through treatment was “devastating and traumatic”.
She added: “When I go to chemo, she is my inspiration.
“I will think of her. And she will help me out.”
In the years since Jeanne’s diagnosis, genetic testing evolved, so when Evert sent her blood for testing, he revealed she had a pathogenic variant of the BRCA1 gene.
Following discussions with her doctor, she underwent a hysterectomy in early December, when the cancer was discovered.
“70 to 80 percent of ovarian cancers are diagnosed at stage 3 or 4,” said her surgeon, Dr. Joel Cardenas.
“In about three months she would be at stage 3 or 4. If left unchecked, she’s reaching the abdomen.”
In the article, co-authored by her friend Chris McKendry, Evert said she chose to share her diagnosis to try to help others.
“Ovarian cancer is a very deadly disease. All information is power,” she said.
Dr. Cardenas said the key to an early diagnosis — and, therefore, a better prognosis — is keeping up to date with tests and knowing your family history.
“Ovarian cancer is rare,” he said. “However, if a patient has a family history, we encourage genetic testing and counselling.”
Evert has won 18 Grand Slam singles titles in his career and is now a broadcaster covering sports for ESPN. She will occasionally appear from home during the network’s coverage of the Australian Open.