EastEnders' Samantha Womack opens up on 'terrifying' cancer diagnosis

9 May 2023, 11:30 | Updated: 18 May 2023, 15:54

Samantha Womack has opened up about her cancer diagnosis
Samantha Womack has opened up about her cancer diagnosis. Picture: ITV/Instagram
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Samantha Womack has spoken out about her cancer treatment after being given the all clear earlier this year.

EastEnders star Samantha Womack has opened up about her recent cancer diagnosis, calling it ‘brutal’.

The actor - best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in the BBC soap - revealed back in August she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

And after being given the all clear earlier this year, Sam has detailed the effect of chemotherapy on the physical and mental health.

"It’s quite terrifying at the beginning,” she told Metro.co.uk, continuing: “It’s important to mention that when it’s needed it’s still an incredibly powerful and potent drug and does an amazing job.

Samantha Womack was given the all clear after five months
Samantha Womack was given the all clear after five months. Picture: Getty

"But when you’re teetering between grades, meaning how aggressive the cancer is, you can sometimes sit, as I did, on a very fine line as to whether it’s needed or not.

"And it’s such a brutal treatment to have, because it’s poison, and you understand that as it’s going into your veins, and you feel it very strongly."

According to the NHS website, 1 in 7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. If it’s detected early, there's a good chance of recovery.

Sam went on to say that she stopped chemo after her second round because ‘at that point my cancer hadn’t developed so far that I was relying on it’.

Samantha Womack played Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders
Samantha Womack played Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders. Picture: BBC

She added: "I’m still a bit tired. Physically I’m really well, but my brain is a bit tired. Sometimes so much thinking hurts."

Back in August, Samantha shared the news of her diagnosis following the death of Grease legend, Olivia Newton-John.

The actor admitted that she hadn’t spotted any symptoms, but a random health check led to doctors discovering a "little shadow".

She said at the time: "I'd been with Olivia, just for dinner after a show I'd done, I 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."

After being given the all-clear, Sam told OK! magazine: "Now I'm just having some treatment as I go back to work, as a prevention – it was crazy, I was doing The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – the producers there were amazing and gave me time off.

"My treatment is ongoing for breast cancer, the surgery was quite difficult to recover from just because it's quite tender when you have lymph nodes removed, there's a few mobility issues at the beginning.”