EastEnders’ Samantha Womack has issued an update on her health after she revealed in August that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Sam, 50, who starred as Ronnie Mitchell on the hit BBC soap, shared her cancer diagnosis after the untimely passing of Grease star Olivia Newton-John from the same illness.
Sharing a photograph of herself with Olivia, Sam wrote on Twitter at the time: “This was the most magical of evenings. Olivia and Chloe had come to see Grease in London and we had dinner together afterwards. I was so excited and in awe, she was my childhood. I now start my own battle with this disease and am left feeling deeply moved."
Three months on, Samantha gave an update while on This Morning where she said she’s feeling “fantastic and happy”.
Of the diagnosis, she explained: “I’m really good. I was diagnosed three, four months ago with breast cancer. It was really incredible because I didn’t find a lump, I didn’t feel unwell. There had been a lot of illness around our friends and family and I just thought I’d get a random check and I had an ultrasound, and it showed a little shadow – at that point it could be anything, a cyst… then I had further investigations and then that diagnosis.
“I was lucky, it was less than two centimetres. I had a lumpectomy, which is just a piece of tissue removed and five lymph nodes.”
Samantha continued: “The mad thing about cancer, when you have it, you understand there are so many different roads, different diagnoses, it is a terrifying world. It’s terrifying at the beginning but if there was ever a time to have it, there are so many new treatments now that are changing the face of cancer, it’s amazing.”
The actress also discussed why she decided to share her diagnosis the way she did as she paid homage to Olivia.
She explained: “I always had quite a precarious relationship with what you share on social media but also challenging yourself, thinking, ‘Am I doing this because I want likes or am I doing this because there’s actual genuine intention behind it?’
“So at the beginning, I was like, ‘I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do’ and then Lily, my daughter, was in the kitchen with Ollie [Samantha’s partner] cooking and she read about Olivia Newton John, and she was on her phone. She just read it in the kitchen and I’d been with Olivia, just for a dinner after a show I’d done, I’d played Sandy in Grease.
“It was just at the beginning of her diagnosis and what struck me was her journey had been 30 years and she was at the end and I was just at the beginning, and it took me back – I felt very moved by it… I thought, ‘I want to share it. I want to talk to people. I want to put it out there’ and it was amazing, the love that came back. I felt empowered by it.”
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