Famed author Jackie Collins kept her battle with Stage 4 breast cancer a secret until the end of her life.
In her last interview with “Extra's” Terri Seymour just weeks before her passing, she was still in good spirits. She shared, “Writing is my passion. I love it.”
With her writing, she had freedom to tell any story she wanted and give characters the personality she desired. She said, “Somebody said to me, 'Why are all your male characters so well-endowed?' and I said, 'Well, I have a choice.'"
Jackie also made a deadly choice not to go to the doctor after she first found a lump on her breast.
St. John's Health Center cancer specialist Dr. Maggie DiNome, who didn't treat Jackie, explained to “Extra's” Renee Bargh how cancer is silent at first and then becomes deadly over time. "Those billion cancer cells didn't just show up. That 1 centimeter tumor showed up on your mammogram. That has been there growing for years.”
Dr. DiNome emphasized the importance of early detection. "If we can find tumors when they are 100 cells, we're gonna have a much better chance of curing the cancer with less aggressive treatment than when it gets to the billion cell stage, which is we're mostly finding cancers."
Collins recently shared that the lump didn't hurt when she touched it. DiNome explained, "The interesting thing about cancers is… most of time… they don't cause pain."
Collins lost her battle with cancer, but her daughter Rory was able to overcome her own cancer scare through early detection.