Belfast Telegraph

Kathy Bates proud of flat chest after removing breasts in double mastectomy

The actress is using her painful experience to help other breast cancer survivors.

Kathy Bates refuses to undergo reconstructive surgery on her breasts following a double mastectomy in 2012.

The veteran actress successfully beat ovarian cancer after she was first diagnosed with the disease in 2003 and she fought it again in her bosom nine years later (12).

The American Horror Story star wears breast prostheses on set whenever required to create cleavage, but when it comes to her naturally flat post-surgery chest, Kathy feels no pressure to alter her appearance.

"I've joined the ranks of women who are going flat, as they say," Kathy told WebMD. "I don't have breasts, so why do I have to pretend like I do? That stuff isn't important.

"I'm just grateful to have been born at a time when the research made it possible for me to survive. I feel so incredibly lucky to be alive."

Although the star is cancer-free, the 69-year-old is still suffering from illness related to the disease.

Doctors removed 19 lymph nodes from her body during the double mastectomy and Bates has been diagnosed with lymphedema as a result.

The condition creates severe swelling and Kathy admits her arms feel "like a boa constrictor" when symptoms kick in.

"My mother had had a radical mastectomy - they took everything - and her arm swelled terribly," she recalled. "She was always a very smart dresser and wore very nice clothes, and after the surgery, she couldn't fit into them anymore. It was a real slide into her feeling 'less than'.

"And so I remember getting hysterical when, even in the hospital, I noticed strange pains in my hands and then discovered that my arms were swelling."

However, Bates has transformed her fears over the condition into a force for good - the star has partnered up with bosses at the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) to become a spokesperson for the charity and she is hoping to use her celebrity to highlight awareness about the painful disease.

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