Actress and early detection advocate Fran Drescher shares advice for fellow cancer survivors, why she stopped eating meat and dreams of a new career (watch out, Washington D.C.!).

Whatever life throws at Fran Drescher, she takes in strideand turns it into a win. After being diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2000 and undergoing a radical hysterectomy, she penned a best-selling memoir, Cancer Schmancer, and created a foundation of the same name, Cancerschmancer.orgher way of thumbing her nose at the disease and helping other women beat it.

Now the star of the 90s sitcom The Nanny is writing, starring in and producing TV Lands Happily Divorced, based on Frans real-life split from long-time collaborator Peter Marc Jacobson. (The season finale airs Wednesday, Feb. 13at 10:30pm on TV Land.)Jacobsons post-divorce revelation that he is gay is a major part of the shows storyline, with sometimes poignant, often comical results. At some point you have to stop kicking, screaming and crying, and play the hand thats been dealt to you as courageously as you possibly can, Fran says.

We talked to Fran, 55, about embracing her role as a 12-year cancer survivor, her new vegan diet, and how she learned to laugh again.

Spry: Many survivors just want to put the experience of cancer behind them, but youve stayed so involved. Why?

Fran: I felt betrayed by the medical community, having been misdiagnosed for so long, and by my own body. I felt out of control, which is not like me. I needed to gain back a sense of myself. I wrote Cancer Schmancer to prevent other people from having the same experience. Then I realized that was just the beginning of a life-long mission.

Spry: What did you aim to do with the foundation?

Fran: We focus on prevention and early detection. We say, If you catch it on arrival, its 95 percent survival. And a preventive lifestyle is bestnot to get it in the first place.

Spry: How have you kept your sense of humor?

Fran: I was bitter after my surgery I was in love and wed been talking about having a baby. But my boyfriend said I wouldnt heal as long as I was angry. So thats when I began to think about the book. Writing it forced me to remember things in hindsight that were actually really funny. Once I struck that note, I never let it go. Its saved me a million times over.

Spry: Whats your best piece of advice for cancer survivors?

Fran: Become something better than you were before, whether it is how you relate to your family, or how compassionate you are as a human being. I always say that turning pain into purpose is very healing.

Spry: How has becoming a vegan affected how you feel?

Fran: Its unbelievable how different I feel. I had various symptoms that were being treated separately. Eventually, I realized they were all related to my cancer treatment. They removed lymph nodes, which filter what your body takes in, so my filtration system is compromised. But eating cleaner helps draw the toxins out.

Spry: How do you stay fit?

Fran: I do Pilates, and I like to walk and hike. If I have a stressful day of work at the studio, no matter how tired I am, I take a brisk walk.

Spry: What do you have onyour bucket list?

Fran: I still think about raising a child. I think about living in a foreign country and becoming comfortable in a foreign culture. I think about working more in Washingtonand even becoming an elected official!
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