‘Chicago Med’ Star Marlyne Barrett Reveals Uterine and Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

Marlyne Barrett, who plays nurse Maggie Lockwood on NBC’s “Chicago Med,” revealed on Tuesday that she was diagnosed with both uterine and ovarian cancer.

“I’m an extremely private person, but I felt a responsibility to tell my story,” the actress told People, revealing that doctors found a “football-sized” tumor on her uterus and left ovary in July.

“When my character went through breast cancer, I had a sea of people reach out to me through social media. They brought me courage, and so I felt a sense of inevitability to meet their hearts where they met me,” she said, referring to Maggie’s fictional battle with breast cancer in 2019.

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“The initial experience was a shock, a shock to my womanhood,” said Barrett, who is also known for her work on “The Wire” and “Damages.” “I didn’t believe them, but when they showed me the CT scan, I went, ‘Oh my word.’ The first questions were, ‘Am I going to live?’ I just fell into my husband’s arms. It still takes my breath away when I think about it.”

Barrett’s first symptoms began April, after an operation to repair a hernia, “had this accumulation of fluid [in my abdomen] that I couldn’t shake. I looked like I was nine months pregnant. And I also had shortness of breath, but no pain, which was interesting,” she said.

After undergoing aggressive chemotherapy and a hysterectomy, she said, “I found this courage and I just hunkered down and said, ‘I’m going to face this.'”

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Knowing that she was going to lose her hair, she chose to shave her head herself. “I didn’t want to give the power to chemo,” she said. “My hair has always been an essence of beauty. But I took my own razor and I shaved my head. I did it in front of my babies so they’d see it was still Mommy. I wept, I wept, I wept. But it was a beautiful experience to do it in front of them.”

Barrett has 11-month-old twins Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya with her husband, pastor Gavin Barrett.

She is still working on “Chicago Med,” but takes naps and days off as needed. And she’s been moved by the support of the cast and crew. “I’ve had people shave their heads on set to support me,” she said.

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