Kathy Bates Explains Why She Kept Her Cancer Private

03/20/2012 AT 04:00 PM EDT



While many celebrities have made their cancer battle public, one star says she faced the disease completely in private.

Oscar-winning actress Kathy Bates has revealed that she battled ovarian cancer in secret – and her work was part of the reason why.

"I was advised to [do so]," Bates, 63, told Anderson Cooper on his show Anderson (airing Thursday). "I was contracted to go into a movie at that time, Little Black Book with Brittany Murphy, who I miss very much. My doctors at the time, they had to get insurance approval and all of that so I was very quiet about it and had to go back to work right away."



Her reasons for keeping the diagnosis quiet also included more personal ones. "Nobody else really knows what you're going through except another cancer patient," says the recent SAG Award nominee. "Even though your family's 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."

But if it were to happen again, the Midnight in Paris actress says she'd be more forthcoming about the fight.

"I admire people who have been open, like Melissa Etheridge and women I see walking around facing it without wigs and all of that stuff," she says. "I think I'd be more courageous next time."

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