Samantha Womack feeling 'really good' after breast cancer surgery

Samantha Womack urges other women to check their breasts for lumps credit:Bang Showbiz
Samantha Womack urges other women to check their breasts for lumps credit:Bang Showbiz

Samantha Womack is feeling "really good" after undergoing breast cancer treatment.

The 50-year-old actress - who is in a relationship with former 'Coronation Street' star Oliver Farnworth, and has children Benjamin, 21, and Lily, 17, with ex-husband Mark Womack - was diagnosed with the illness earlier this year, but returned to the London production of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' shortly after completing surgery.

The former 'EastEnders' star has explained that her diagnosis came about because of a "random check", even though she did not feel unwell or find a lump.

She said: "I went back two weeks ago because I've been away to have my surgery for breast cancer but then I came back and did a nine-show week. It was so inspiring and I felt really happy. It just felt fantastic.

"It was directly after the surgery, I think it's just my Nordic Viking genes. I was like, 'Oh I'll just get back,' but I'm doing a lot of sword work, so I changed my mind after two days. I'm really good.

"I was diagnosed about three-and-a-half, four months ago with breast cancer. It was really incredible because I didn't find a lump, and I didn't feel unwell. There had been a lot of illness around our friends and family and I just thought I would do a random check. And I had an ultrasound, it showed a little shadow.

"At that point, it could be anything - it could be a cyst. And then I had further investigations and that was diagnosed. I was lucky, it was less than two centimetres and I had a lumpectomy - which is just a piece of tissue removed - and five lymph nodes, and it was prevalent in one. The mad thing about cancer is when you have it, you suddenly understand that there are so many different roads, different diagnoses and it is a fascinating world.

"It's terrifying at the beginning but if there was ever a time to have it, there are so many treatments now. So many new treatments are changing the face of cancer. It's amazing."

Samantha first opened up about her diagnosis in August this year following the death of Dame Olivia Newton-John - who passed away at the age of 73 following her own 30-year-battle with the disease - and explained that she felt inspired to speak out about her condition because she recalled meeting the 'Grease' star when she played the part of Sandy herself in a London production of the classic musical in 1994.

Speaking on ITV's 'This Morning', she told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: "In the beginning, I didn't know if it was the right thing to do [share her news on social media]. But then my daughter Lily was in the kitchen with Ollie cooking. She read about Olivia Newton-John, she just read it. I'd been with Olivia for a dinner after I played Sandy in 'Grease'. It was just at the beginning of her diagnosis and what struck me was that her journey was her journey had been 30 years. She was at the end and I was just at the beginning and it took me back. I felt very moved by it and felt, 'I wanna share it, I wanna put it out there.' "

Samantha was greeted with so many stories from other women upon sharing her news and urged women in their 30s and 40s to check themselves more regularly in order to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

She added: "So many private stories of women came back. Breast cancer is a strange one because it doesn't just attack your body, it attacks your image, it attacks your affiliation with femininity. Your breasts, as a mother, or as a woman, your hair.

"Lots of things you associate with feeling powerful, strong and attractive. So many women should be checking themselves in their 30s and 40s. There's so many women who would be diagnosed so much earlier if they just checked themselves sooner."