The actor, who starred in the Netflix drama series as Josie Pye, has documented her experience on social media after being diagnosed last month with a “one in a million” form of cancer.
Speaking to People, McKeon said that she’d found a lump on her breast while on holiday at a beach house with her friends.
“I had the thought that ‘Wow, this is the moment.’ I immediately went to the worst-case scenario. ‘This is the moment where everything changes and there’s no going back,’” she recalled.
“But after going down a little Google rabbit hole, my mind was at ease because I didn’t think anything could be wrong because of my age.”
However, doctors quickly investigated the lump, with her positive result coming back as she touched down in San Francisco for a three-week stay.
McKeon’s cancer is currently at stage three, having spread to her lymph nodes, with the actor explaining: “My doctor was like, ‘Your stage doesn’t define you. And your cancer is your cancer,’ which I appreciate because when you hear someone’s stage, your mind goes straight to one place or another and I don’t think that’s necessarily representative of what I’m going through.
“Although I don’t have the easiest case scenario – like I wish it hadn’t spread to my lymph nodes or that it was a little less complicated – I never had a moment where I was like, ‘Oh, am I going to die from this?’ That was never really a thought. I think this entire time it’s been more of like, ‘OK, we’re going to treat this and solve it.’”
McKeon began chemotherapy last week, saying that she is managing “as best as I can” and is trying to “find the beauty” in her experience. She has also been encouraged by doctors to freeze her eggs.
“I wouldn’t have chosen this, I didn’t choose this, I don’t think anyone would choose this. But I’m making it my job to try and pull something out of this,” she said.
Anne with an E is based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s children’s book Anne of Green Gables.
The Canadian series ran for three season from 2017 to 2019 and is available to stream on Netflix internationally.
Additional reporting by Press Association.