Suzanne Somers to Christina Applegate: Use Cancer to Learn and Grow
08/11/2008 AT 12:50 PM EDT
Somers, 61, who announced in 2001 that she was battling the disease, has written an open letter to Applegate, 36, and which has been made exclusively available to PEOPLE:
Cancer is scary, and lonely. You can't ask anyone to make decisions for you because it's just too heavy. There is a lot of 'rush to treatment,' when what you really need is time to research and think about how you want to approach this. Take your time Christina, there is no rush. Take your time and think it through. Use your cancer to learn and grow and as a force to work for you. You might choose to take an alternative approach. There are more options than the ones presented to you in the oncologist's office. You will make it. The success and drive you have had in your career will be the same strengths you will use to win over this nasty disease. And I am here if you want to talk to someone who was 'there.'
In 2001, Suzanne Somers sparked controversy by battling breast cancer without chemotherapy on the cover of PEOPLE
For more advice from experts and survivors on living with breast cancer, see Health.com