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Julie Chrisley: 'There's no reason to keep breast cancer quiet'

By Alisandra Puliti


If you haven’t already guessed from the name of his show – Chrisley Knows Best– patriarch Todd Chrisley pretty much knows it all. As much as hecauses his family to roll their eyes at some of his outlandish comments, it washis request three years ago for wife Julie to get a mammogram that ultimatelysaved her life.

“It was an intuition on his part,” Julie tells HELLO! of his insistence she get screened. “I had no family history. I did not feelanything prior." Doctors discovered a malignant lump, and the reality TV star, who was not yet 40 at the time, was diagnosed with breast cancer. "I am really glad I went when I did," she adds. "If I had waited anotheryear, [the odds] may not have been what they were.”

"It was an intuition on his part," Julie says of husband Todd's insistence she get a mammogram Photo: WireImage

After the diagnosis, the 42-year-old began investigating her best plan of action. “Iwas diagnosed on March 5; I had my double mastectomy on March 22,” sheexplains. “I didn’t waste any time. The minute I was diagnosed, I startedresearching. Todd and I sat down and discussed. I had to do what was best forme and my family. I didn’t want to place the burden on my children more than Ihad to. I had teenagers and a 6-year-old.”

Now celebrating three years cancer free, Julie, who alsounderwent reconstructive surgery and later got a hysterectomy, continues toshare her story in the hopes of helping other women. Last month, she made herway from Atlanta to New York City for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5kin Central Park. “It warms my heart to hear other women’s stories. So manywomen feel like they don’t have anybody to talk to,” she says. “I have womenthat come up to me all the time. I’m grateful to be able to givethat back.”

It’s hard to believe that an estimated 2.8 million women inthe U.S. have fought or are currently fighting against breast cancer. This yearalone, Rita Wilson, Shannen Doherty and Sandra Lee have all shared their bravestories about their treatment and diagnosis. “Once you’re diagnosed, it’s sucha personal thing. I have followed all these women,” Julie shares. “The moreit’s talked about, the more men and women will know. There is no reason to keepit quiet; let’s talk about it. If it helps one person who was putting offgetting that mammogram, then I feel like what I went through is not in vain atall.”

"There's no reason to keep breast cancer quiet – let's talk about it," says Julie, seen here with Todd and daughters Lindsie and Savannah Photo: Getty Images

And while sharing isn’t for everybody – Julie points outthat Jackie Collins, who passed away from breast cancer on September 19 at 77,made the right decision for her to keep her diagnosis close to the vest. “Shelived her life on her own terms,” she adds. “As women, we have that prerogativewhether we chose to have a double mastectomy or the path she took. It’s not upto any other person when it comes to this. You have to educate yourself and dowhatever you feel is best for you.”

Perfect example: Angelina Jolie. “She made that decision [tohave a preventative double mastectomy] based on education and her experiences,”Julie explains. "I commend her.”

The mother of three and stepmother of two does encouragewomen to get them at 40 and up. “Just go, take the time to go,” she says. “Amammogram is nothing. I recommend going as early as you feel comfortable.”

And so does Todd.

Chrisley Knows Best returns to USA on November 10 at10/9C.