Canadian actress Cobie Smulders has opened up about her secret battle with ovarian cancer. In the new issue of Women’s Health, the Vancouver-born star reveals that she was diagnosed with the disease when she was 25 and spent the next two years undergoing various surgeries and treatments.
"I had tumours on both ovaries and the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes and surrounding tissues,” she tells the magazine.
Cobie, who has never spoken out about her diagnosis until now, admits that the experience changed her outlook on life in that she no longer sweats the small stuff.
“It caused a huge shift for me,” she says. “Like, you know what? I’m just going to do things. I’m going to take advantage of life and enjoy myself and not get so stressed out. And that’s been my mentality ever since.”
Posing topless on the May issue, the How I Met Your Mother star looks happy and healthy after five years in remission and says her goal now is to raise awareness for others. According to the National Cancer Institute, the disease claimed the lives of more than 14,000 women in 2014.
"I don't think I'll ever feel like I'm cancer-free,” says Cobie. “Now that I'm five years out, I'm trying to think of it as a positive thing and what can I learn from it. And if I can create more awareness, I'll do it."
The mother of two – who has a five-year-old daughter, Shaelyn, and a three-month-old son with husband Tarran Killam– seems to be following in the footsteps of Hollywood stars like Angelina Jolie and Rita Wilson, who recently revealed their cancer battles in personal op-eds.
Angelina had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed just two years after having a preventive double mastectomy in 2013. Rita, who is married to Tom Hanks and stars in Larry David's Broadway play, Fish In the Dark, underwent a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer late last year.