Linda Evangelista has revealed she has had cancer twice, and underwent a double mastectomy after her first diagnosis with breast cancer five years ago.
The 58-year-old supermodel told the Wall Street Journal her breast cancer was detected in 2018 during an annual mammogram.
“The margins were not good, and due to other health factors, without hesitation, because I wanted to put everything behind me and not to have to deal with this, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy. Thinking I was good and set for life. Breast cancer was not going to kill me,” she said.
Four years after her surgery, in July last year, she was then diagnosed with cancer of the pectoral muscle, for which she had chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
She told her doctor to “dig a hole in my chest”, she recalled.
“I don’t want it to look pretty. I want you to excavate. I want to see a hole in my chest when you’re done. Do you understand me? I’m not dying from this,” she said.
Speaking ahead of the new Apple TV+ docuseries The Super Models, which features interviews with Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington, she said her prognosis is now “good but not great”.
She said her doctor had told her, “Well, once it’s come back, there’s a chance.
“I know I have one foot in the grave, but I’m totally in celebration mode.”
Evangelista said she had wanted to keep the news quiet for a while.
“Only a handful of people knew. And I’m just not one of those people who has to share everything,” she said.
“I thought to myself, I will share this one day but while I am going through it, absolutely not. I don’t want the Daily Mail waiting outside my door like they do every time something happens. ‘Linda seen for the first time since blah blah blah.’”
Evangelista made headlines in 2021 when she revealed she felt “deformed” after suffering a rare complication from CoolSculpting, a fat-freezing cosmestic procedure, saying she had spent six years “in hiding”.
She sued Zeltiq Aesthetics, the company behind CoolSculpting, citing grievous injuries, for US$50m (£42m, $A78m). The suit was settled last year for an undisclosed amount.
In January, supermodel Tatjana Patitz died of metastatic breast cancer at the age of 56.