Why Julia Louis-Dreyfus Decided to Face Her Cancer Battle Publicly (Exclusive)

Following her successful battle against breast cancer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is reflecting on her decision to be open and candid with her fans about her medical treatment.

ET’s Christine Johns spoke with the 57-year-old actress on the red carpet in New York, as Saks Fifth Avenue celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Key To The Cure, an annual charitable initiative to fight cancer, and she explained why she took her fight against cancer into the public spotlight.

“Originally, I’ll be honest with you, something like this journey I’d been on, I normally wouldn’t share such a private thing publicly,” Louis-Dreyfus shared. “[However], I knew it would get out there because I knew we had to shut down production [on Veep] for a number of months in order to accommodate my situation.”

“So then I thought, ‘Well, I’m just going to embrace this and attack it and try to do it with a sense of humor,” she added. “I was really pleased with the reaction.”

Back in January, as the actress went in for her last round of chemotherapy she shared a hilarious video her sons — Henry, 26, and Charlie, 21 — recorded to support her during her final procedure. The clip involved the pair enthusiastically lip-syncing to Michael Jackson’s classic hit “Beat It.”

For Louis-Dreyfus, the loving video was the perfect gift. 

“It had a sense of humor and it had a kind of ‘kick cancer in the ass’ kind of point of view,” recalled the actress and proud mom, who said that when she shared the video, she heard from friends and followers that it was “buoying to people that are battling cancer.”

With her cancer in remission, the actress has returned to work shooting the final season of her acclaimed HBO political comedy Veep, and she says she’s “savoring every second of it.”

“All the elements [are coming] together, it’s really kind lightning in a bottle,” she said of the hotly anticipated seventh and final season. “So I am relishing every blessed second.”

Aside from her work on Veep, she’s also undertaken some new charitable endeavors, including working with Saks Fifth Avenue as their Key to the Cure ambassador.

Together, she and the clothing company have designed a new shirt for Saks stores, the sales of which benefit the AiRS Foundation, a nonprofit that helps women with the cost of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.

“That seemed like a really good [charity] that could use some help,” she explained. “The idea of somebody not being able to get breast reconstruction if they want — it and plenty of women choose not to do it but if they want it — is unconscionable.”

For more from the celebrated actress on her inspiring battle against breast cancer, watch the video below.

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