Diem Brown is battling cancer for the third time in nine years and will remain in a New York hospital for two weeks after getting a hysterectomy. Brown was recently diagnosed with colon cancer after having battled ovarian cancer in 2003 and again in 2012.
Diem, 32, is fighting her cancer with her usual optimism, although she admitted this recent diagnosis was the most traumatic.
"This time around has been the scariest build up towards my cancer journey," said Brown. "Both mentally, physically and emotionally the most traumatic. I've been needing some hope to fight for, some light to look forward to at the end of this journey. I find that strength in my family, friends and fans. People I've never met believe in me, I can't let them down! I won't."
Brown learned of her colon cancer by accident, when she collapsed while filming a reality show abroad. Diem was then airlifted to New York, where she underwent emergency surgery to get a tumor removed from her colon, People reported. During the surgery, doctors discovered more tumors and operated on her again. Brown remains in the ICU unit of a New York hospital, where she is expected to remain for about two weeks.
Brown first became famous after appearing on MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003 (at age 23) and underwent surgery to have an ovary and part of her fallopian tube removed.
When her ovarian cancer returned in 2012, Diem was shocked because she didn't know ovarian cancer could return. Brown also said she was holding on to her hope of being able to get pregnant someday. Prior to her recent colon cancer diagnosis, Diem said she got tested every two months.
'Cancer Has Changed Who I Am'
Brown said her cancer has changed her outlook on life and made her appreciate every day that much more. "Cancer has changed who I am," she said. "It sounds like a cliché, but I've only got this one life, and I need to live every day to the fullest. I'm a lot more appreciative of things now."
Other celebrities who have battled cancer include Michael Douglas, who's now cancer-free after being diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer and Angelina Jolie, who underwent a preventive double mastectomy in February 2013 after genetic tests revealed she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of contracting ovarian cancer.
As a result of her mastectomy, Angelina's breast-cancer risk has dropped to under 5%. Jolie's mother, aunt, uncle, grandmother and grandfather all died from cancer, forcing the Oscar winner to take the radical step of preemptively removing both her breasts.
Jolie is doing well now after the double mastectomy, but will remove her ovaries in the near future. The ovary-removal procedure, called an oophorectomy, will lower the risk of ovarian cancer by 80%-90% by reducing the amount of estrogen and progesterone circulating in the body.