The Five Easy Pieces star was diagnosed with rare ampullary cancer in November, 2010, but chose to tell only close friends and family members about her health crisis.
Black underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments in California and a drastic weightloss and is now cancer-free.
She has opened up to U.S. tabloid the Globe to offer others fighting cancer hope.
The Oscar nominee says, "So few people knew of my illness... I kept it as much of a secret as I could.
"I didn't want to be affected by any negative energy, the look of sympathy on people's faces... You can almost hear their thought, 'Oh, she's a goner.'"
The 69-year-old actress tells the Globe she was suffering digestive problems while starring in the play Just 45 Minutes From Broadway when she learned she had cancer.
She recalls, "This type of cancer you don't feel at all, but it's very serious. I was told I would need surgery immediately. Fortunately, we caught the cancer in time, the cancer had not spread beyond its initial perch on the inside of a part of my digestive tract. Dr. Farnell at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota got it out."
Black hopes her story will help others: "Don't give up hope. Keep doing what you love to do and find the beauty in everything around you."