Jaclyn Smith, one of the original Charlie’s Angels, has done an interview with SurvivorNet, discussing her breast cancer diagnosis and recovery.
Smith was diagnosed with stage-1 breast cancer in 2002. At the time, she told Coping Magazine, “So we do the core biopsy and the needle biopsy and I come back the next day,” Jaclyn continues. “I’m thinking everything is good. And then the physician’s assistant comes in and asks, ‘Did you drive here alone?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah.’ I’m still not realizing anything might be wrong,” Jaclyn says, laughing. “I was thinking to myself, why would I have somebody drive me here? It’s nothing, right? And then Dr. Giuliano comes in and says he has some bad news. It’s cancer.”
From there, Smith had to undergo radiation and have a lumpectomy. At the time, her children were 16 and 20-years-old, and she worried how the process would affect them. Her family and friends were present and supportive, and she credits her positive attitude throughout the treatment to their input.
“I had my mother, my brother flew in, my husband, and my girlfriends. They surrounded me and uplifted me with so much love. And my girlfriends really supported me through the eight weeks of radiation – I never went to an appointment alone. They were just always cheery and they were always up, and they wouldn’t let me get down,” Smith adds. “And if I heard anything, they diffused the story. It’s nice to have family, but it’s nice to get that support from friends, too.”
Interestingly, Smith has stated that the time immediately following her diagnosis were some of the most productive in her career. “I flew through that summer. I launched a furniture line, I did a cameo in the Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle movie, and I started a reoccurring role on the CBS series The District. It ended up being this incredible summer of work and family and friends, and it changed me. It made me realize how much I had to be thankful for.”
She also touched on how she and fellow Charlie’s Angels actor, Farrah Fawcett, supported each other through similar diagnoses. “Kate had breast cancer — I was there for her. With Farrah, I was very close to her, especially at the end. Her journey with cancer was horrific.”
Now, Smith spends time with her family and helps to bring awareness to advanced detection organizations, like Strength in Knowing.
“I did that for about two years, and you’d be surprised how many women are in denial or are afraid to go in for their mammograms, etc.,” she said. “…I do realize the importance of organizations like Strength in Knowing because not everybody has family nearby or girlfriends to turn to.”