Joanna Kerns is opening up about her double mastectomy after a scary breast cancer diagnosis.
The 64-year-old actress, best known for starring as Maggie Malone Seaver on “Growing Pains,” was recently “given an all clear” after the surgery.
“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 told People Magazine Friday.
In November 2016, the star was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive, stage zero cancer trapped inside the milk ducts. She received the shocking news during a routine mammography screening. After two lumpectomies, Kerns chose to have a double mastectomy in December.
“What was really interesting about this process is that breast cancer does not run in my family,” she explained. “I have 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.”
Just one week after Kern’s mastectomy, Alan Thicke, who played her husband Jason Seaver on ABC’s hit sitcom, died from a heart attack at age 69.
“Growing Pains” aired from 1985 until 1992.
“It was so devastating,” said Kerns. “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.”
These days, Kerns is feeling great again and has followed a “whole-food, plant-based diet” to stay healthy.
“Today, I take care of myself and I’m vigilant — and I’m working out!” she said. “[My husband and I] went to Scotland and I played golf for nine days.”