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Chris Evert Reveals That Her ‘Cancer Is Back’: ‘This Is a Diagnosis I Never Wanted to Hear’

"Doctors found cancer cells in the same pelvic region. All cells were removed, and I have begun another round of chemotherapy," the tennis ace shared in a statement Friday

<p>Clive Brunskill/Getty</p> Chris Evert

Clive Brunskill/Getty

Chris Evert

Chris Evert has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

The tennis legend, 68, revealed that her cancer has returned "in the same pelvic region" in a health update on Friday, two years after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and announcing that she was in remission from the disease earlier this year.

“Since I was first diagnosed with cancer two years ago, I’ve been very open about my experience. I wanted to give all of you an update. My cancer is back,” Evert said in a statement released through ESPN.

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<p>Jason Koerner/Getty </p> Evert shared that her cancer is back in a health update on Friday

Jason Koerner/Getty

Evert shared that her cancer is back in a health update on Friday

“While this is a diagnosis I never wanted to hear, I once again feel fortunate that it was caught early,” she continued. “Based on a PET CT scan, I underwent another robotic surgery this past week. Doctors found cancer cells in the same pelvic region. All cells were removed, and I have begun another round of chemotherapy.”

“I will be unable to join my colleagues when ESPN makes its return to Melbourne for the Australian Open next month. But I’ll be ready for the rest of the Grand Slam season!” the sports star said.

Evert added, “I encourage everyone to know your family history and advocate for yourself. Early detection saves lives. Be thankful for your health this holiday season.”

Representatives for Evert did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Related: Tennis Great Chris Evert Reveals She's Cancer-Free After Sister's Death from Same Disease

Evert had previously announced that she was free from cancer in January.

"Today, I'm cancer-free, and there's a 90% chance that the ovarian cancer will never come back," she said in a post on ESPN.com at the time.

The International Tennis Hall-of-Famer urged the importance of genetic testing as she also spoke about her sister Jeanne who died from the same disease in February 2020.

"A year ago, I started a journey to protect myself and my loved ones from the risks associated with the BRCA-related ovarian cancer that took my sister Jeanne's life," Evert continued.

"Jeanne wasn't BRCA positive, but genetic testing revealed she had a BRCA-1 variant that was of 'uncertain significance.' The doctors didn't recommend genetic testing for me or my siblings, and we stayed focused on Jeanne's treatment."

Evert retired from tennis after ranking No. 1 in the world in 1989
Evert retired from tennis after ranking No. 1 in the world in 1989

The 18-time Grand Slam winner said that medical experts told her that she and her siblings “should have been tested” as they “reclassified her BRCA variant” which was “now very clearly pathogenic.”

Evert shared that she booked a preventative hysterectomy right afterward which led to her finding out that she had Stage 1 ovarian cancer.

Related: Tennis Star Chris Evert Has Stage I Ovarian Cancer: 'I Feel Very Lucky That They Caught It Early'

"When my pathology report came back, my doctors and I were stunned to find that I had malignant cells and a tumor in my left fallopian tube," recalled Evert.

"My doctor said if left undiscovered, in four months' time I would probably have been Stage 3 like Jeanne, with very few options…I immediately began six rounds of chemotherapy." Evert also underwent a double mastectomy.

Evert is mom to three sons Colton, Nicholas and Alexander, who she shares with ex-husband Andy Mill.

She retired from tennis in 1989 after remaning No. 1 ranked in the world for seven years, from 1974 to 1981, and currently holds 157 singles titles.

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