Fran Drescher has found the silver lining in her battle with uterine cancer.
The actress, best known for the beloved ’90s sitcom The Nanny, swung by PEOPLE’s Chatter on Wednesday where she opened up about her Cancer Schmancer organization and the positive ways her diagnosis impacted her life.
“I’m not glad I had cancer. I don’t wish it on anyone. But I am better for it,” Drescher, 61, said. “It’s deepened me as a human being. It’s forced me to have a life that resonates more with other people’s needs, with compassion, and a sensitivity to other people’s pain.”
“I feel like I got famous, I got cancer, and I lived to tell about it. So that’s kind of become my life mission,” she continued. “All the work I do as an actor is to stay current so I can speak to the platforms I’m passionate about.”
She added: “For anyone that’s going through anything — and no one leaves this planet unscathed, one of these days life’s going to bite you on the butt — just remember after you kick and scream and cry, ‘Why me lord,’ if you turn your pain into purpose, it is really healing. It somehow makes sense out the senseless.”
After being diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2000, Drescher underwent an immediate radical hysterectomy. Her road to diagnosis was a long one, though, one that took two years and eight doctors.
“Ultimately I was really lucky,” she said. “The particular cancer that I had was a very slow-growing cancer. So even after two years, I was still in Stage 1. I didn’t have to do any post-opt treatment. But still, I couldn’t have children … I felt very betrayed by the medical community and betrayed by my body.”
Frustrated by the process, Drescher dedicated her second book, Cancer Schmancer, to telling her story. It went on to become a New York Times bestseller. From there, she started the Cancer Schmancer Movement, a non-profit organization that promotes the early detection and prevention of cancer.
On Oct. 23, the organization will help throw Fran Drescher’s Master Class Health Summit — which the website describe as, “a mind-expanding, life-changing day that gives you the tools to prevent, reduce, and reverse disease.”
Doctors and medical experts across multiple specialities will be on hand to discuss whole body wellness, mental health, and the latest cutting-edge medical research, among other topics.
“It is fantastic,” gushed Drescher. “[The doctors] are looking at the whole body as a system,” she added. “And more importantly, they’re asking, ‘Why is the body expressing this?’ Not trying to suppress it.”