Bates has starred in the films "Titanic," "Misery," "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Primary Colors." She recently had a recurring role on the sitcom "The Office" and now stars in the TV drama "Harry's Law."
The Oscar-winning actress talked about being a cancer survivor in an interview with Anderson Cooper set to air Thursday.
Asked why she didn't tell people what she was going through at the time, Bates replied, "I was advised to."
"I was contracted to go into a movie at that time, 'Little Black Book' with Brittany Murphy, who I miss very much, but my doctors at the time, they had to get insurance approval and all of that, so I was very quiet about it," Bates said. "I had to go back to work right away and I guess part of it was just, I don't know how to explain it, nobody else really knows what you're going through except another cancer patient. Even though your family is supportive and surrounds you, I just got to the point where I would go to chemo by myself and just really go through it on my own. I guess it's something I felt I had to face on my own. Now if I go through it again, I think I would be a lot more open about it. I admire people who have been open like Melissa Ethridge and women I see walking around facing it without wigs and all of that stuff. I think I would be more courageous next time."