At the end of 2001, Cybill Shepherd was diagnosed with melanoma, a fatal form of skin cancer. The actor’s spokesperson confirmed the news to The Star seven months after “she had a benign growth removed from her back,” and had been receiving regular check-ups to “guard against a re-occurrence” (via the New York Post). Though her team downplayed the severity of the health scare, the magazine played up Shepherd’s harrowing experience by making claims that she “was hysterical” and “hardly slept and cried constantly,” according to a source.
Whether that aspect was true or not, the experience understandably made an impression on the star. During an appearance on the UK’s GMTV, Shepherd said of her cancer diagnosis (via the Irish Examiner), “It changes your life totally,” and explained that she “had a rare form skin cancer called dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans” that she was born with on the back of her neck. As of 2004, thankfully, she’d been cancer free for three years.
In addition to cancer, Shepherd has also sadly experienced chronic irritable bowel syndrome for years and became an advocate for raising awareness for the condition. In 2005, she told The Massachusetts Daily Collegian that she’d been “misdiagnosed for 20 years,” and experienced the harrowing frustration of being told her pain “was nothing. It was psychological, all in [her] head.” Unfortunately, it was very much real, leading Shepherd to require “four emergency abdominal surgeries,” as she shared with Closer.