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Kathy Bates warned cancer diagnoses would affect career

Kathy Bates was warned her cancer diagnoses in 2003 could affect her career as Hollywood had a "stigma" surrounding those with the disease.

Kathy Bates warned cancer diagnoses would affect career


Kathy Bates was warned her cancer diagnoses could affect her career.

The 69-year-old actress has battled both ovarian and breast cancer in the past, and has admitted in 2003 when she was diagnosed with the ovarian strain of the disease, she was told to keep it a secret or she could risk losing out on job opportunities.

She said: "Back in 2003, when I had ovarian cancer, my agent told me not to tell anyone about it. Even my gynaecologist, whose husband worked in the business, warned that I shouldn't come out with it because of the stigma in Hollywood. So I was very careful."

But the 'American Horror Story' star had a change of heart when she saw 'I'm the Only One' hitmaker Melissa Etheridge performing on stage during her own battle with cancer.

Kathy added: "But then I saw Melissa Etheridge doing a concert and just wailing on her guitar with her bald head, and I thought, 'Wow, I wanna be her!' So when the breast cancer diagnosis came, I knew I wanted to be honest about it."

During her struggle with breast cancer, Kathy underwent a double mastectomy, and has chosen not to get reconstructive surgery as she doesn't believe she needs to "pretend" that she has breasts.

Speaking to WebMD.com, Kathy said: "I've joined the ranks of women who are going flat, as they say. I don't have breasts -- so why do I have to pretend like I do? That stuff isn't important. I'm just grateful to have been born at a time when the research made it possible for me to survive. I feel so incredibly lucky to be alive."

Meanwhile, Kathy previously praised her doctor for helping her become an ambassador for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) after she developed lymphedema - a build-up of soft body tissues - after her mastectomy.

She said: "About three years ago I discovered I had breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. After the surgery, I developed lymphedema. I have a very mild case, but I have to wear compression garments from time to time. My doctor helped me turn my anger about having this debilitating disease into something positive - she told me about the LE&RN, and I've become an ambassador.

"Now when I attend social events wearing my (compression) sleeves, I feel less self-conscious. I want people to ask me about it. Lymphedema affects up to 10 million Americans. Hopefully more people will come out of the shadows and talk about it."



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