Tierney Opens Up About Cancer Fears

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September 10, 2010 | 4:00am EST

Former E.R. star Maura Tierney has spoken of the horror she felt on the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The beloved actress, who had to pull out of hit TV show Parenthood to battle the disease last year, admits she was crippled with fear when she found a lump in her breast – and instinctively knew the news would not be good.

She tells Parade magazine, “I was so scared of going to the doctor. I felt something, and my boyfriend at the time made me go. He said, ‘You’ve got to take care of this,’ because I was afraid.”

But Tierney, who is still battling the disease, insists she never felt sorry for herself: “I was so lucky. I had insurance, I found a great team of doctors… and I could afford not to work while I was getting treated.

“From the beginning my doctor told me, ‘You’re going to be OK,’ and I chose to believe him. So there was always that in my head.”

But the news didn’t get better – shortly after she started her health battle, Tierney learned her cancer was more aggressive than doctors had initially thought.

And she got a scare from her physician when he told her that her disease would not even have been detected a decade ago: “He said they would have patted me on the head and told me, ‘You’re cured,’ and I would have died of breast cancer.”