She had style, she had flair, she was on our favorite TV show, then she seemed to vanish from Hollywood.
It turns out the reason for Fran Drescher's sudden disappearance from public life was a years-long cancer battle, and the actress is opening up about her experience with the disease.
Drescher rose to fame as the star of The Nanny, then left TV when the show ended in 1999.
She returned for a new show, Living With Fran, in 2005. But Drescher's biggest fans wondered what had happened to the sitcom star in-between those projects.
Drescher reveals that she had a close call in 2000, after being diagnosed with uterine cancer. While she received treatment soon after, Drescher says she struggled to get the right diagnosis for years.
"I went down this two-year, eight-doctor odyssey, to get a proper diagnosis of uterine cancer," she explains. "I kept slipping through the cracks." While the symptoms were there from the start, none of her doctors recognized them. Her first doctor even told her she was too young for uterine cancer.
Drescher says her doctors were thinking, "'If you hear galloping, don't look for a zebra because it's probably a horse,' yet if you happen to be a zebra like I was, you're going to slip through the cracks."
Once she finally got the right diagnosis, Drescher needed emergency surgery.
Drescher says she had an immediate hysterectomy after being properly diagnosed, and hasn't needed any cancer treatments since then.
Since her last TV project, Happily Divorced, went off the air in 2013, Drescher has taken some small parts on Broadway. But mainly, she's devoted herself to raising awareness about cancer, and encouraging women to get tested early and often.
"If it were today," she says about her disease, "I would make sure I understood what the test would determine and whether we should do the test and eliminate the more potentially life-threatening concerns before treating me for the more benign disease that was not life-threatening."
Drescher runs her own website called Cancer Schmancer, which promotes early checkups and offers health advice to women. Her hope is that other "zebras" like her won't fall through the cracks. if they know what to expect during treatment.
In the meantime, Drescher knows her fans are dying for a reboot of The Nanny, and says she's "open" to the idea. She even says that she still keeps in touch with the main cast. But if nobody is interested in rebooting the show, Drescher has her own project in the works instead.
"You will never be the same [after trauma]. But whatever that is, forge forward with that and turn your pain into purpose which is what I always do," she says.
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[H/T: Closer Weekly]