Danniella Westbrook says she initially turned to drugs to help her cope with her cancer diagnosis.
Former EastEnders star Danniella Westbrook has said she will undergo a hysterectomy as she has been diagnosed with cancer of the womb.
The actress said that she had symptoms for around a year and a half but that doctors initially misdiagnosed her illness.
The 44-year-old TV star said her thoughts turned to her late friend Jane Goody, who died in 2009 from cervical cancer, when she was first diagnosed.
Speaking to The Sunday Mirror, she said: “I’ve always said I am not scared of dying.
“But when the doctor said, ‘You have cancer’, straight away my thoughts turned to Jade and that I don’t want to die. I know I need to fight.”
Westbrook said her mother survived womb cancer almost 30 years ago after undergoing successful treatment and that she will follow suit.
She said: “The doctors say they believe it is containable so I’m hopeful. My mum had the same cancer when I was 15. I’m 44 now and she is still here.
“Her treatment was on the NHS and it worked. They are taking me in in three weeks for a full hysterectomy. Before they take it out they won’t know to what extent the cancer has grown.”
She added that her focus now is to stay healthy and fight the illness.
“I want to live and sort out my health. I know I have to fight, I know I have to get up and battle it”, she said.
Westbrook played Sam Mitchell on and off on EastEnders from 1990 to 2000. After battling with drug addiction, the role was recast in 2002, with Kim Medcalf taking over until her departure in 2005.
Sam was reintroduced in 2009 and show bosses decided to bring back Westbrook to the role. She headed back to Walford in 2010 when the character went to live with Grant in Portugal after giving birth to Jack Branning’s baby.
She made a return to the soap in 2016 as the Mitchell family bode goodbye to their much-loved matriarch Peggy, played by Barbara Windsor.