She survived both ovarian and breast cancer, and now Kathy Bates is sharing what she learned from those struggles. “Cancer teaches you to value every moment,” she exclusively told Closer Weekly at the recent WebMD Health Hero Awards in New York City on January 15. “If you can hold on to that aspect of being a cancer survivor, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. I’m grateful it’s given me a chance to use my celebrity to help people.”

Kathy Bates Admits She ‘Wouldn’t Be So Private’ If She Battled Cancer Again

Going through trauma also gave Kathy, 70, a newfound appreciation for her loved ones. During difficult times, “you value your friends,” she said. “One of the things I love about technology is it’s so much easier to stay in touch with friends and people in your life that you would otherwise lose contact with.”

Kathy Bates
Getty Images

Kathy at a Stand Up to Cancer event.

One of those people is producer Ryan Murphy, who cast her on American Horror Story after she beat cancer in 2013. “He resurrected my career,” she raved. “So the last six years of my list have been the best.”

At the WebMD Health Hero Awards earlier this month, Kathy also debuted a 60-pound weight loss while walking the red carpet at the special event. While speaking with Us Weekly, the actress revealed “mindfulness, just knowing when to push my plate away” is the secret behind her drastic physical transformation. “My niece told me this little secret, I guess it’s no secret, it’s a biological thing, that at some point when you’re eating, you have this involuntary sigh and that’s really your brain and your stomach communicating that you’ve had enough. The trick is to pay attention to that and push your plate away,” she said.

Kathy Bates Weight Loss
Getty Images

Kathy before (left) and after (right) her 60-pound weight loss.

For more on your favorite stars, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!