'What's Happening!' Star Danielle Spencer Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

From left, Ernest Thomas, Danielle Spencer and Haywood Nelson from "What's Happening" attend the 2007 Chiller Theatre Convention on Oct. 5, 2007 in Parsippany, N.J. Bobby Bank/Getty Images

Danielle Spencer, who played the bratty little sister Dee on the 1970s sitcom, "What's Happening!!" revealed that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Speaking out for Breast Cancer Awareness month, Spencer, 49, who is now a veterinarian, told BlackAmericaWeb that her diagnosis last month took her by surprise.

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"With everything that I've been through with the spinal cord injury, I said I know God is not going to give me another affliction," she said, referring to a 1977 car accident, during the sitcom's run, that lead to near-paralysis for a time. "So I was completely shocked when the doctors told me."

Though the news came as a surprise, Spencer said the disease runs in her family.

"I have a lot of help and support around me," she said.

She's currently considering her treatment options, with surgery at the top of the list.

"I'm trying to get as many opinions as possible but it does look like that is what I'm going to do," she said. "Hopefully after that there won't be any chemotherapy or radiation involved."

At the end of her sitcom's three-year run in 1978, Spencer, who was famous for her line, "Oooh, I'm gonna tell mama," went on to Tuskegee University for a degree in veterinary science and became a veterinarian. Twenty-two years later, she's still happy with her choice.

But her role as Dee will always be a part of history. Recently, Spencer became the first child star to be was inducted into the Smithsonian Museum. She will be part of the permanent exhibition of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, scheduled to open in 2015.

"I still can't believe it," she said. "That's something people can look at for years to come, long after I'm gone."

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