She played fan-favorite doctor Addison Montgomery in Shonda Rhime’s hit series, “Grey’s Anatomy” before she was given her own spinoff in “Private Practice”, and Kate Walsh went from being a TV doctor to a real-life patient when she opened up about being diagnosed with a “very sizeable” Brain Tumor in 2015.

From doctor to patient

The “Grey’s Anatomy” actress was diagnosed with meningioma, a tumor that arose from the lining that surrounds her brain and spinal cord.

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Within three days after her diagnosis, she underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles to have it removed. Fortunately for the actress, doctors confirmed that the tumor is benign.

Despite playing a doctor for a few years on “Grey’s” and “Private Practice", Walsh admitted that the diagnosis still blindsided her. For all the medical jargon she had to remember during her stint as a TV doctor, she hasn’t heard of meningiomas – slow-growing tumors that are usually benign but are more likely to occur in women.

Speaking about her experience with the condition, Walsh said that she was always exhausted. However, she was starring and executive producing for “Bad Judge,” which is why she didn’t think too much about it. Unlike her usual bouts of exhaustion, however, it didn’t improve over time. When her Pilates instructor, however, noted physical symptoms in the gym, Walsh decided to visit a neurologist and pushed for a diagnostic MRI, which revealed her tumor, which by then, is comparable to “a small lemon.”

What are meningiomas?

Meningiomas are the most common tumors that are usually seen in the central nervous system.

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In the United States alone, there are about 27,000 cases of meningiomas recorded every year. While some, like Walsh’s, are removed surgically without the need for further treatment, there are also some cases in which the tumors are very small and cause no symptoms. Still, there are less common cases when malignant cells are found in the tumor, or when the said tumor is found next to delicate structures like the brain stem, which lead doctors to opt for radiation therapies.

Walsh noted that she noticed a difference immediately after her surgery. She also said that she decided to go public about her diagnosis to help raise awareness, especially considering that her tumor usually affects women. Another TV personality affected with this diagnosis is Maria Menonous, who decided to leave E! to focus on her recovery. She joined her “Grey’s” co-star Patrick Dempsey and other TV doctor’s in a Cigna campaign that encourages people to get annual checkups.