Olivia Munn says ‘nothing’ could have prepared her for shock of double mastectomy

Olivia Munn says “nothing” could have prepared her for the emotional shock of seeing her body after she underwent a double mastectomy.

The 34-year-old actress had been due to shoot a sci-fi film in Germany this time last year, but instead had to go under the knife after oncologists discovered she was suffering stage one invasive cancer in both her breasts.

Olivia told People about having her double mastectomy within 30 days of her lifesaving diagnosis: “There's so much information and you're making these huge decisions for the rest of your life.

“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. It was a lot tougher than I expected.”

Olivia woke from her 10-hour operation on 24 May, 2023, with her chest bandaged, expanders where her breasts had been and looking at a framed photo of her then one-year-old son Malcolm that her partner, comic John Mulaney, 41, had placed at her bedside.

Olivia added doctors also discovered a “tangerine-sized” section of preinvasive cancer in her right breast during the gruelling operation.

But she said about her relief it had been detected: “Hearing that news gave me peace that I’d made the right decision.”

Olivia was unable to pick up her baby after she returned home to recover, and said she was thankful she had John at home – who she says “just did so much and took such great care of me and Malcolm” while she rested.

She did not see herself in the mirror until a week after surgery, and revealed about the shattering impact of the moment: “I saw myself for the first time and I was in shock. It was incredibly hard.

“It was a shock. It was a shock to my system. I had such a hard time, I remember just looking in the mirror with him and just having no emotion, just taking in what (my doctor) was saying.”

Olivia added she completely undressed when she returned home, with the sight of what she saw in the mirror causing her to break down.

She has now undergone reconstructive surgery and says she has adjusted to the dramatic changes on her body.

Olivia added: “It's much better, but it's not the same, and that's okay.”

Since her surgery, the actress also endured hot flushes, thinning hair and exhaustion.

She has also had hormone suppression therapy to reduce the further risk of cancer, which she said put her in a state of medically-induced menopause – causing her to suffer hot flushes, thinning hair and fatigue.

Olivia added about how she is overjoyed to be alive: “I'm extremely happy that I got the opportunity to fight.

“I was given that chance, and I know a lot of people in my situation don't have that as an option. So I'm extremely grateful.”

She now calls her surgical scars “battle wounds” and says she is now focusing on raising her boy Malcolm, now two.

Olivia urged other women to get the simple test that led to her getting the MRI that saved her life, adding: “All I want is for more women to be able to advocate for themselves.”