Hannah Brown is opening up about her “crazy” cancer scare as a child.
During an appearance on Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe, the former Bachelorette discussed her battle with pancreatic cancer at age 11.
“I had a really crazy scare when I was little,” Brown told Bristowe, fellow Bachelorette alum. “I got really sick really fast where — I still think it’s like a weird medical mystery of what caused them to find it — because I got my period really early but just one time. And I was having really bad stomach cramps but I was also just having really bad stomach issues to the point where I couldn’t go to school, doubled over in pain, couldn’t go to the bathroom — serious.”
Brown explained that she was “declining in health” so much that it’s noticeable when she looks back at old photos of herself during that time. She learned of her cancer when her primary care physician suggested a full-body scan after several experts couldn’t determine the cause of her pain.
“I had an encased malignant tumor,” she said. “I hate to say it because there’s people that have really gone through the battle of cancer and I was very fortunate that my doctor was able to get out my encased tumor fully. If it would have burst or something was left, it could’ve been a lot worse.”
“It was very quick,” Brown added. “I found out I had it, two weeks later having the surgery. I really didn’t go to school much my fifth grade year.”
Brown previously discussed her childhood cancer journey in her memoir, God Bless This Mess. “They sent me for a biopsy, and a day or so later, my dad got a call with the results — not from our regular doctor, but from an oncologist,” she recalled. “The tumor was malignant. Cancer. Pancreatic cancer — one of the deadliest forms of cancer there is.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, solid pseudopapillary tumors of the pancreas are the most common form of pancreatic cancer in children and most often occurs in pre-teen girls. They typically are contained to the pancreas and do not spread, increasing the likelihood of recovery — which was the case for Brown.
Brown said she was concerned about the possibility that she would need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation after the surgery if there were lingering cancer cells, because that meant she may lose her hair.
“There was a chance we’d have to go through radiation and chemotherapy, they said, depending on what the surgeon found once they got me into the operating room,” she said. “But miraculously, I didn’t need either one.”
And since the surgery, Brown has been cancer-free.
“I had to go to checkups a few times a year or so after that,” she said, “but nothing else ever turned up in my scans or in my bloodwork.”