Kathy Bates, a famous actress known for her work on Two and a Half Men and Harry’s Law, has faced several health challenges in her life, including ovarian and breast cancer. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003, she underwent a hysterectomy and chemotherapy. She was later diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Despite these setbacks, Bates has maintained a successful career in acting and has won numerous awards, including two Golden Globes and two Primetime Emmys.
“When the doctor told me I had a tumor in my left breast, I yelled, ‘Make mine a double,’” I said. Take them both out. “I wasn’t taking any chances,” she said in a prior interview with Practical Pain Management.
“A river of breast cancer runs through my family. My aunt, mother, and niece all died due to it.” she said.
Kathy Bates, a well-known actress in the United States, has a family history of breast cancer and after discovering that both her mother and aunt had the disease, she decided to undergo a double mastectomy to remove both breasts as a preventive measure. Even though she tested negative for the BRCA breast cancer gene, she bravely underwent surgery to reduce her risk of recurrence. In addition to fighting two types of cancer and losing her uterus and breasts, she also experienced lymphedema.
“Then I had something called lymphedema,” Bates said on The Kelly Clarkson Show in 2019.
“I’m not sure you’ve heard, but they remove lymph nodes to treat cancer. When your lymph system is impaired, fluid frequently accumulates in the affected leg.” she continued.
Kathy Bates developed lymphedema after undergoing surgery to remove lymph nodes in order to treat cancer. This condition causes swelling in the limbs due to excess lymph fluid accumulation, which can impair the lymphatic system and lead to fluid buildup in the affected area. Bates was understandably frustrated when she discovered she had this condition while still recovering from breast surgery.
“As soon as I woke up, I experienced a strange sensation, almost like a tingling, in my left arm,” she told SurvivorNet.
“I went insane. I dashed out of the exam room and out the door. What exactly am I doing? I wondered as I clutched a pillow to my chest while still wearing my drains. I’m standing outside in the middle of July. It’s hot, I’m still healing, and I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Kathy Bates’ struggles with lymphedema were compounded by the fact that she had already battled cancer twice before. The condition, which causes swelling in the arms and legs due to a build-up of lymph fluid, can be treated to prevent it from worsening, but it is incurable and can progress over time.
“I felt bitter and depressed. I thought my professional career was gone and that everything was done.”
It is estimated that 10 million people in the United States are affected by lymphedema, and the NHS advises that the main symptoms can be managed through techniques that reduce fluid accumulation. Despite the challenges of living with lymphedema, Bates has remained determined and resilient.