Lynda Bellingham has opened up in a moving one-off interview about cancer, which she revealed she had been diagnosed with earlier this week.
The actress and TV presenter, well known for her Oxo TV adverts and more recently her role on Loose Women, revealed that she went to the doctor for no more than a check-up ahead of a three-week holiday in June in Greece.
“I just wanted to be double sure that all was well. Simple as that,” she told the Mail Online.
IMAGE TO VIEW FULL GALLERY
She was referred to a consultant surgeon, who broke the bad news that she had cancer, and then to an oncologist.
“I sat down and it was then that he uttered the immortal words: ‘Lynda Bellingham, you are not going to die.’ I could have hugged him. It’s the mantra I’ve since repeated every day to myself.”
That was on 2 July. Now Lynda has spoken openly for the first time since a statement broke the news, but it was in an interview that was originally scheduled to talk about the publication of her first novel, Tell Me Tomorrow.
The 65-year-old, who has had to postpone a UK tour of Kay Mellor’s play A Passionate Woman, made it clear that she would not be revealing anything further, including the type of cancer she has or the treatment she will undergo. “I’m drawing a line under it and getting on with dealing with the illness until I’ve seen it off.
“I’m just not ready to share the intimate details of all of that at the moment,” she said. “It’s my body and nobody else’s business… But, for now, I’m pulling up the drawbridge and speaking to no-one outside my immediate family.
“I’m of the era of people who believe not every detail of your life has to be in the media. Nowadays, people share absolutely everything.”
But she explains the reason behind sharing the news on social media network Twitter. “I have quite a loyal following on Twitter so, for them, I did tweet one short message about my diagnosis. I did what I thought was appropriate for someone of my age.”
Lynda’s tweet came on Tuesday: “Hi everyone just to say I have been diagnosed with cancer but I am not going to die! Dealing with it and hope to be back at work soon.”
Showing that she really is A Passionate Woman, the Canadian-born actress said that the worst part of finding out about cancer was actually cancelling her work schedule. “I honestly minded more about having to pull out of the play than I did about the cancer itself.”
The tour of A Passionate Woman was scheduled to start at the Sheffield Lyceum in September. Sheffield Theatres’ artistic director Daniel Evans said, “A Passionate Woman is an extraordinary play about an extraordinary woman, and that woman is Lynda Bellingham.