What Wellness Means To Me: Fran Drescher

The actress, comedian and founder of the Cancer Schmancer Movement talks about her relationship with health and what led her to create the impactful nonprofit.

By Ray Rogers

PURIST: What does wellness mean to you?

Fran Drescher: Supporting your body to do its best job and operate at an optimal. Learning self-care, and living pristinely.

PURIST: How has the concept of wellness transformed for you over the years?

FD: I began thinking early detection was the most important thing. “Catch it on arrival, 95 percent survival” but eventually, I want to focus on causation and the elimination thereof. “Let’s not get cancer in the first place, how’s that for a cure?”

PURIST: What do you do to keep yourself grounded, and mentally and physically fit?

FD: I try to follow Buddhist philosophy. I find it to be an excellent tool for getting through life. It’s a daily practice, of course, and I often falter, but there is always another opportunity to make a better choice on your journey of self-refinement. Being mindful and not reactive is a big part of it, but also to always ask yourself, “Why is this being presented to me? What is the universe trying to teach me?”

PURIST: As a cancer survivor yourself, what led you to create the nonprofit Cancer Schmancer Movement?

FD: At first I wrote what became a New York Times bestseller, Cancer Schmancer. In it I shared my story to help others with things I learned the hard way. But on the book tour I realized the book was only the beginning of what was to become a life mission. I saw that by leveraging my fame, I could empower people to “Take control of your body!” And in showing people that, “How you live equals how you feel,” and how imperative reducing your risk of disease depends entirely on how toxin- and carcinogen-free your life is. How well are you at managing stress? And how cultivated is your spiritual life? How much of a priority is joyfulness, family, friends and community? These are the criteria of the Cancer Schmancer mission.

PURIST: What do you hope attendees will take away from the Master Class Health Summit in the Hamptons this summer?

FD: I hope they realize that being healthy is a lifestyle.

PURIST: As someone who is loved and admired for comedic talents, what role has humor played in your health and approach to life?

FD: Laughter is key to good health. Having a joyful heart is a daily practice. Learning balance is a daily challenge but essential, particularly in the fast-paced digitized and totally unnatural world most of us live.

PURIST: What do you think of the phrase “Laughter is the best medicine”?

FD: I always tell people you can do everything right, but if you’re not lighthearted and joyful, or if you’re not living your life in gratitude, don’t bother!

Fran Drescher’s Master Class Health Summit will take place on July 29 at the Ross School, 18 Goodfriend Drive, East Hampton; cancerschmancer.org