WTA Legend Chris Evert shared her diagnosis of stage 1 ovarian cancer and treatment plan on social media and in an article co-written with her fellow ESPN anchor Chris McKendry.
In her statement, Hall of Famer Evert said, "I wanted to share my stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis and the story behind it as a way to help others. I feel very lucky that they caught it early and expect positive results from my chemo plan.
"Thanks to Chris McKendry for her friendship and for co-writing this very personal story with me. And thanks to all of you for respecting my need to focus on my health and my treatment plan. You will see me appear from home at times during ESPN's coverage of the Aussie Open."
Evert was diagnosed after a preventive hysterectomy, according to her article with McKendry. Following two surgeries, she will start her first of six rounds of chemotherapy this week.
"Cancer had been removed during the hysterectomy," she and McKendry wrote. "It had not spread. Following chemotherapy, there's better than a 90% chance that her cancer never returns.
"I've lived a very charmed life. Now I have some challenges ahead of me. But I have comfort in knowing the chemotherapy is to ensure that cancer does not come back."
Evert took "proactive" steps, such as undergoing improved genetic testing and having the preventive hysterectomy after she was found to possess the BRCA1 gene, which denotes a predisposition to various cancers.
My friend has shared her story… please read. https://t.co/f9mJpAeFn9— Chris McKendry (@ChrisMcKendry) January 15, 2022
Taking those steps was partially a tribute to her sister, Jeanne, who died of ovarian cancer in 2020 at 62. Jeanne was also a WTA player during the 1970s.
"When I go into chemo, she is my inspiration," Evert said. "I'll be thinking of her. And she'll get me through it."
Evert hopes her diagnosis will increase awareness.
"Be your own advocate," she added. "Know your family's history. Have total awareness of your body, follow your gut and be aware of changes. Don't try to be a crusader and think this will pass."
Evert, a winner of 154 WTA singles titles, including 18 Grand Slam singles titles, held the World No.1 singles ranking for 260 weeks during her career.
The 67-year-old icon was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995 and has been a fixture in ESPN's tennis coverage for more than a decade.