In a bold move that’s capturing plenty of attention, actress Cobie Smulders has opened up about her battle with ovarian cancer. Now, the How I Met Your Mother star has an important message that we think the women in your life desperately need to hear.
Smulder, who’s now 34, revealed in a candid essay published by Lenny Letter that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 25 during the third season of her hit TV show.
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“I had felt like something was off. My energy was low, I was tried all the time, and I felt a constant pressure on my abdomen that I could not explain,” she wrote.
Still, the diagnosis came as a shock. “Just when your ovaries should be brimming with youthful follicles, cancerous cells overtook mine, threatening to end my fertility and potentially my life,” she wrote.
Though keenly aware of the “total mental, physical, and emotional” toll the cancer battle took on her, she managed to keep working and appear onset as if everything was fine. It wasn’t until posing for a health magazine’s cover shoot last year that the “terrifying” ordeal her body had endured just a few years before–including multiple surgeries and treatments–really began to hit home.
“It all made me start thinking about this body that I’m in. And what it has been through,” wrote Smulders, calling the episode an “opportunity to share some insight from my experience of being diagnosed with, receiving treatment for, and eventually learning to cure my cancer.”
Now, she hopes that women everywhere can learn from what she’s been through. Most importantly: Listen to your body when it sends distress signals.
“I wish that we as women spent as much time on the well-being of our insides as we do with our looks on the outside. If you are going through something like this, I urge you to look at all your options,” she wrote.
Ladies: Let’s keep this crucial message spreading.
NEXT: Click through below to see celebrities you didn’t realize had survived cancer.
Edie Falco: Breast cancer, 2004 Falco kept her treatment a secret from her Sopranos co-stars. “Surviving cancer has a way of making you re-prioritize," she's said. In her case, it meant starting a family.
Kathy Bates: Ovarian cancer, 2003; breast cancer, 2012 The actress kept her cancer a secret but after her double mastectomy, she told People magazine: "Breast cancer runs like a river through my family.
Fran Drescher: Uterine cancer, 2000 It took two years and eight doctors before the Nanny star was finally diagnosed. After the experience, she wrote a book and started a cancer foundation.
Rod Stewart: Thyroid cancer, 2000 The rock icon got lucky when his cancer was discovered during a routine scan. He lost his voice for three weeks, and now sings an octave lower than he used to.
Carly Simon: Breast cancer, 1997 After a lumpectomy and chemotherapy, the singer told the New York Daily News she was "stronger than ever. I've always thought of myself as a warrior."
Sheryl Crow: Breast cancer, 2006 The singer, then 44, had just broken up with Lance Armstrong when doctors discovered a tumor. After treatment, she adopted two boys.
Sharon Osbourne: Colon cancer, 2002 The reality TV star had one foot of her colon removed. After discovering she carried the gene for breast cancer, she had a double mastectomy.
Hugh Jackman: Skin cancer, 2013, 2016 Jackman was filming X Men when a makeup artist pointed to a red mark on his nose. It turned out to be basal cell carcinoma. He now gets skin checks every three months.
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro: Prostate cancer, 2003 De Niro, then 60, credited his complete recovery to early detection.
Christina Applegate: Breast cancer, 2008 The actress was only 36, but she had the BRCA gene mutation--her mom was a breast cancer survivor. She opted for a double mastectomy.
Michael C Hall
Michael C. Hall: Hodgkin's lymphoma, 2010 Hall used a break during Dexter to go through treatment. Getting a Golden Globe two-thirds through it gave him a "shock of positive energy."