The actress tells Oprah about her delayed reaction to her cancer diagnosis and treatment decision

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 29, 2008 01:45 PM

It was a delayed reaction to having heard her medical diagnosis – that she had breast cancer – that made Christina Applegate cry, she says.

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Samantha Who? star, 36, spoke candidly with Oprah Winfrey on a special installment of The Oprah Winfrey Show set to air Tuesday. On it, Applegate discusses her recent radical mastectomy.

“So you just made the decision that you were gonna let both go,” Winfrey asks the actress, in reference to the decision to have both breasts removed.

“Yep. I was just gonna let them go,” says Applegate, who then says, when asked if she cried, “You know, I – at first I didn’t. And then when I met with my doctor and I told him that was my decision and he brought the surgeon in and it was like the flood gates just opened up and I – I lost it.

In terms of first receiving her diagnosis (something “you don’t want to hear ever”), Applegate recalls the doctor’s words as, ” ‘It came back positive.’ And I just – like right now I’m sitting here shaking remembering that moment. As you guys know, you don’t think it’s gonna happen to me.”

Mother Also Had Cancer, Twice

Applegate appears on the program with Nancy Brinker, who started Susan G. Komen For the Cure, which supports breast-cancer research and is named for Nancy Brinker’s sister, who died of the disease in 1980.

As she has in the past, Applegate also spoke of her 67-year-old mother, who twice survived breast cancer and whom her daughter refers to as ” a quiet warrior.”

“She’s had it twice and there was this part of me that sort of knew that the other shoe was gonna drop,” Applegate tells Winfrey.