The Misery star fought and won her fight against ovarian cancer in 2003, but she only went public with news of her health scare after beating the illness.
She has held off from talking at length about the disease in the media, but Bates decided to speak out on Wednesday (13Jun12) when she joined 400 other cancer survivors and their families at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Survivorship Center in New York.
She tells the New York Daily News, ""I haven't talked much about being an ovarian cancer survivor because I don't really want to define myself that way. I want to be defined by my own essence.""
And Bates insists few people actually understand the gravity of the disease.
She says, ""Although everybody's as supportive as they can be, basically it's your fight. It's only the other survivors that really understand.
""A lot of people go through the chemo and run out of gas. They come out the other end, and then become depressed. You feel that you should be swinging from the chandeliers... but it takes a long time to get your strength back.""