LIFE

‘The Facts Of Life’ Star Mindy Cohn Opens Up About Her Secret 5-Year Battle With Breast Cancer

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a writer, native New Yorker, TV enthusiast, and dog mom to Hobbes.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve shared the stories of women — both famous and not — who have bravely confronted breast cancer and survived.

Many of these women are determined to share their stories with the world to raise awareness about the importance of annual screenings.

Just last week, Married…with Children actress Christina Applegate opened up about her decision to have her ovaries removed, years after she chose to get a double mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis.

Similarly, Charmed actress Shannen Doherty (who has been in remission since April) shared a raw and emotional throwback photo of herself losing hair in the thick of her cancer battle.

Former child star Mindy Cohn is the latest in a long line of famous women to come forward about their breast cancer battle, shining a light on just how common the disease is.

Scroll through to learn more about Mindy’s journey.

NOTE: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Learn more at the National Breast Cancer Foundation‘s official website.

Thumbnail Photo: Getty Images for Heifer International / Angela Weiss

Mindy Cohn is best known for playing Natalie Green in the 1980s sitcom The Facts of Life.

Mindy starred on the popular and long-running show about a group of girls growing up in an upstate New York all-female boarding school. She was on the show for its entire nine-season run.

She was one of only three original cast members from the first season — along with Lisa Whelchel’s Blair Warner and Kim Fields’ Tootie Ramsey — to remain a series regular to the very end.

Mindy also brought back her character for the 2001 TV movie The Facts of Life Reunion.

Outside of the sitcom world, Mindy is also known for having voiced Velma Dinkley on the What’s New, Scooby-Doo? animated series and related animated movies from 2002 to 2015.

She has also appeared in one-off or recurring roles in various other shows, like TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland and ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

In an interview with PEOPLE, Mindy opened up about her 2012 breast cancer diagnosis, which she’d previously kept private.

“I was walking around my neighborhood in Los Angeles and I suddenly got so tired,” Mindy recalled of one morning in 2012. “I just couldn’t go anymore. This was before Uber was really a thing, so I texted my friend Helen Hunt and said, ‘Something’s wrong with me. I need help.'”

Mindy went to the doctor, where a scan showed a growth in her breast. It was biopsied and confirmed to be breast cancer.

Mindy, who is now 51, went through a “siege” against the disease over the next five years, with a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. The actress said the battle drained her — especially when the persistent cancer metastasized.

“I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and then it would. And then I’d wait for another shoe to drop, and it would,” she revealed. “I was frustrated and enraged. I couldn’t control any of this. I couldn’t fix it.”

Mindy says she stepped away from Hollywood in order to recuperate. She also leaned on her close friends, reality stars and lifestyle gurus Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge of The Fabulous Beekman Boys, who she calls her “family.”

Thankfully, the actress is now cancer free, ready to return to acting, and even healthy enough to embark on a trip to climb Machu Picchu with her friends next year.

“I’m feeling great,” she said. “And I’m so ready to get back to working. I think I’m a good actress, and I have a lot to offer. I’m excited to see what I get to do next!”

Isn’t Mindy’s strength and determination so inspiring?

Please SHARE this story on Facebook to wish Mindy all the best in her recovery!