Many Hallmark fans are familiar with Cameron Mathison’s cancer battle, but not everyone knows that Catherine Bell of Good Witch also had a cancer diagnosis of her own when she was younger.
She Was Diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in Her Early 20s
Bell, who plays Cassie on Good Witch, first discovered that she had thyroid cancer when she was in her early 20s, The Columbus Dispatch reported. She had been modeling in Japan after dropping out of college when her uncle, who was a dentist, discovered that she had a lump on her throat. She needed surgery to remove her thyroid.
Some fans have commented in the past that they can tell she once had some type of surgery on her neck.
Bell is open about her surgery and her story.
Thyroid cancer! 1990! RT @MrsASchubert: @reallycb Did you have some type of surgery on you neck? I'm watching season 3 & it looks like it…
— Catherine Bell (@reallycb) April 13, 2011
In an interview with TV Week in 2000, Bell shared that having any form of cancer at 22 was scary.
“Thyroid cancer isn’t a life-threatening illness, so I am very lucky in that sense,” she said. “But having any form of cancer, especially when you are only 22 years old, is really scary.”
She had her thyroid removed and then had to undergo radiation to remove any cancer cells. She still has to take a thyroid pill regularly and get tested periodically to make sure the cancer doesn’t return.
Bell told TV Week that the experience brought her and her mom closer. She said:
When I was having the treatment, you’re totally radioactive and no one can come near you. When you go to the bathroom, they actually tell you to flush three times so you can dilute the radioactive material more. Through all that, Mom would still be there to hold my hand.
In 2004, she was on the cover of Parade Magazine because of her support for thyroid cancer awareness, The Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association shared. She shared her story in a Thyroid Cancer Awareness Brochure while she was co-starring on JAG.
She Said Having Cancer Helped Her Choose Acting Over Modeling
She said the experience ultimately helped her decide on a career in acting rather than modeling, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
It was one of those moments when I was dabbling in acting and dabbling in modeling and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life and was probably just wasting a lot of time and floundering. It was the moment that directed all my attention toward acting. I started taking an acting class and applying myself in that direction.
She told TV Week that the experience also helped her shift her focus to healthier living overall.
“I decided to watch what I eat and not become too crazy,” she said. “I don’t drink much and I don’t do drugs… I used to go parachuting, but no more. I ride a motorcycle and I race cars but nothing too dangerous.”
At the time of her interview with TV Week, she had recently finished starring on JAG. She said the experience taught her that she wouldn’t be a good fit for a military life in real life.
“I want to be able to create and live life how I want,” she said. “And I love acting too much. It’s complex and intense.”
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