Applegate, who has been dancing since she was three years old and is a cancer survivor herself, appears in the charity's 2017 campaign


Christina Applegate is a “dancer against cancer.”

The actress has teamed up with Dancers Against Cancer to raise awareness about the charity, which provides financial support and inspiration to individuals in the dance community and their families who have been impacted by cancer, PEOPLE confirms exclusively.

Applegate, 45 — who has been dancing since she was three years old and is a cancer survivor herself — stars in this year’s PSA alongside dance pros Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, Allison Holker and Maddie Ziegler. The group is also joined by young inspiring dancers, Caitlyn Feddock, Valory Newton, Nala Ford and Emma McDonald.

Credit: Benjo Arwas
Credit: Benjo Arwas

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2008,” says Applegate. “I was 36 years old and was not expecting that whatsoever. But because I was really diligent about getting tested, I was able to catch it at a really early stage.”

The star, who underwent a double mastectomy after she was diagnosed, explained that her cancer diagnosis came from “a doctor-ordered MRI.”

“At that time, I was asked by the people at the hospital I had gone to like, ‘Please get the word out to people because women are opting to not have this because of the cost,'” shares Applegate, who went on to launch her foundation, Right Action for Women (RAW), which will also receive a special donation presented by Dancers Against Cancer at the Industry Dance awards in August.

Credit: Benjo Arwas
Credit: Benjo Arwas

“And that really struck me,” adds Applegate. “That this is something that could save a lot of lives, so we started RAW primarily as a place to provide assistance for women who are at high risk for breast cancer with a service for MRIs.”

Now, women can visit RAW’s website “and learn about whether they are high risk, learn about the steps that they can take to keep themselves alive and healthy,” says Applegate.