Former “Facts of Life” star opens up about her 5-year battle with breast cancer

Cast members from the television series 'The Facts of Life' stand around a piano, circa 1987. (L-R front) Kim Fields, MacKenzie Astin and Cloris Leachman. (L-R rear) Lisa Welchel, Nancy McKeon and Mindy Cohn. (Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

“Facts of Life” actress Mindy Cohn, who was best known as the lovable Natalie Green on the smash-hit ’80s TV series, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012.

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The actress recently opened up to PEOPLE about the diagnosis and her five-year battle after keeping it a secret “for a long time.”

Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images

“I was walking around my neighborhood in Los Angeles and I suddenly got so tired,” she said of the initial symptoms. “I just couldn’t go anymore. This was before Uber was really a thing, so I texted my friend Helen Hunt and said, ‘Something’s wrong with me. I need help.’”

Cohn was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy while opting for chemotherapy and radiation.

Before the diagnosis, Cohn said she leaned on her close-knit group of friends for support, but she quickly found the diagnosis to be draining.

RELATED: “Growing Pains” star gives fans an update after undergoing a double mastectomy

“I’ve always been an optimist,” she said. “But the cancer metastasized. It kept spreading and coming back. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and then it would. And then I’d wait for another shoe to drop, and it would. I was frustrated and enraged. I couldn’t control any of this. I couldn’t fix it.”

She briefly stepped away from Hollywood to recover, but now that she is cancer free, she is ready to step back into the spotlight. Cohn is currently planning a trip to climb Machu Picchu in Peru with her two close friends Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, who appeared on the reality series “The Fabulous Beekman Boys.”

“I’m feeling great,” she says. “And I’m so ready to get back to working. I think I’m a good actress, and I have a lot to offer. I’m excited to see what I get to do next!”

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