Joanna Kerns is opening up for the first time about being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The 64-year-old Growing Pains star reveals in a new interview with People that she underwent a double mastectomy at the end of 2016.
In November, after a routine checkup, Kerns was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive, stage zero cancer trapped inside the milk ducts. She decided to have the surgery a month later, "instead of risking radiation and the chance of it coming back."
The actress was shocked when she found out about her diagnosis because "breast cancer does not run in my family."
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"Had I not caught my cancer this early on, I would have had to have a year of chemotherapy, and because of the reoccurrence and aggressiveness of this particular type of cancer, which was non-invasive HER2, I chose to do the mastectomy,” Kerns tells the magazine.
"I had been vigilant about screenings and exams, except this time I had missed a couple of years in there due to work and family issues, and suddenly I turn around, and it’s two years later, and I hadn’t done it and I have cancer -- it was quite shocking," she shares.
For now, Kerns has been "given an all clear," which she says is "the best of the results I could have had."
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While she was going through this emotional process, one week after her mastectomy, her former Growing Pains co-star and on-screen husband, Alan Thicke, died from a heart attack.
“It was so devastating,” Kerns expresses. “It was just a very, very hard time. I did go to the memorial four weeks out, and I was very happy to see my whole cast and my producers and dear friends.”
The cast and many other celebs paid tribute to the actor upon finding out the devastating news. See how they honored Thicke in the video below.