Kathy Bates went ‘berserk’ after being diagnosed with incurable condition.

In the illustrious realm of Hollywood, where tales of triumph and adversity often intertwine, few figures command as much respect and admiration as Kathy Bates.

From her captivating performances across genres to her courageous battle against health challenges, Bates has carved out a legacy that transcends the silver screen.

At 75 years old, Kathy Bates, a two-time cancer survivor grappling with lymphedema, faces her most formidable challenge yet.

Keep reading to learn about this incredible actor’s health journey!

Kathy Bates’ journey began in the heart of Tennessee, where her passion for the performing arts ignited at an early age. With dreams as vast as the open skies, she set her sights on the dazzling lights of Broadway and the allure of Hollywood.

With a career spanning back to the early 1970s, Bates has accumulated numerous accolades and nominations, showcasing her prowess across a spectrum of genres, from spine-chilling thrillers to gripping dramas and side-splitting comedies.

Just one year after stunning audiences with her bold performance alongside Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt, where she appeared fully nude, Kathy Bates received devastating news in 2003: she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.


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Fast forward to 2012, and Bates faced another harrowing battle when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, leading her to undergo a double mastectomy.

Unfortunately, Bates’ streak of ill health showed no signs of abating.

‘I went berserk’


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“When I appeared on Kelly Clarkson’s show in 2019, I shared something called lymphedema,” Kathy Bates revealed. “It’s a condition where lymph nodes are often removed during cancer treatment, leading to fluid buildup in the affected limb.”

Lymph nodes play a crucial role in filtering lymph fluid, and their removal, often necessary in cancer treatment, can disrupt the normal flow, causing swelling, typically in the arm and hand.

In an interview with SurvivorNet, the Dolores Claiborne star emphasized that while cancer posed significant challenges, it was lymphedema that proved to be the most daunting aspect of her health journey.

“I went into a frenzy,” she recalled vividly. “Leaving the examination room, I found myself running out of the building, still with drains in place, clutching a pillow to my chest, thinking, ‘What am I doing?’ It was July, the heat was unbearable, and I was still healing, desperate not to exacerbate my condition.”

Bearing her soul, the Fried Green Tomatoes star admitted to feelings of bitterness and depression, fearing that her career had reached its end.

Despite its incurable and progressive nature, the National Health Service (NHS) offers hope, indicating that while lymphedema presents challenges, its major symptoms are manageable through measures aimed at controlling fluid accumulation.

‘Light inside’

Eventually, Kathy Bates found solace in the guidance of a lymphedema expert who offered her invaluable support. Recounting her experience, Bates shared, “I visited her, still carrying the weight of my anger, pouring out all my tales of woe. And she responded with words of wisdom, saying, ‘That’s all in the past, and now you’re embarking on the rest of your life.'” Bates continued, reflecting on her doctor’s profound impact, “Some individuals just radiate inner light.”

In addition to undergoing treatments and utilizing compression sleeves to alleviate the pain and swelling in both her arms, the Blind Side star discovered a sense of healing through aiding others.

Now serving as an advocate for lymphedema, Bates assumes the role of national spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education and Research Network (LE&RN), utilizing her platform to raise awareness about the condition. “An estimated 10 million individuals in this country grapple with lymphedema,” she informed Clarkson. “That surpasses the combined number of individuals affected by ALS, muscular dystrophy, MS, Parkinson’s, and AIDS.”

Bates also stressed the importance of advocating for a definitive diagnosis, particularly since lymphedema often goes undetected by medical professionals. “It’s a condition that flies under the radar, especially when we, as individuals, seek medical attention and express concerns such as swelling in our legs,” she explained. “Instead of addressing the issue, doctors may dismiss it with trivial advice like ‘Just eat a salad.'”

Despite the challenges posed by her health, Bates found a support network to help her navigate through adversity, refusing to let it impede her progress.

Reflecting on her journey, Bates, who most recently graced the screens in 2023’s The Miracle Club, expressed gratitude, stating, “I never wished for cancer, and I certainly didn’t wish for lymphedema. Yet, I feel blessed to have encountered this condition because, without it, I wouldn’t possess the opportunity to utilize my celebrity status to potentially make a positive impact on others’ lives.”

Indeed, Kathy Bates serves as an inspiration, using her fame as a force for good and leaving an indelible mark on the world through her unwavering resilience and advocacy efforts.

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Kathy Bates went ‘berserk’ after being diagnosed with incurable condition.
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