Samantha Womack decided to share cancer diagnosis after Olivia Newton-John death

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EastEnders star Samantha Womack says a conversation with her daughter in the wake of Olivia Newton-John’s death encouraged her to share her own breast cancer diagnosis.

In August the actress, known for her role as Ronnie Mitchell in the BBC One soap, revealed that she was battling cancer like the late Grease icon.

Appearing on This Morning on Tuesday, Samantha said that while she ‘always had a precarious relationship’ with sharing parts of her personal life on social media, a conversation with her daughter Lili-Rose encouraged her to do so.

‘At the beginning I didn’t really know what to do and Lili was in the kitchen with Olly (..) cooking and she read about Olivia Newton-John [passing away] and I had been at a dinner with Olivia just after a show I had done, where I played Sandy in Grease, and it was at the beginning of her diagnosis and what struck me was that her journey was at the end and mine was at the beginning and it just took me back and I felt very moved by it actually,’ she said.

‘Without thinking about it I though that I wanted to share it and I wanted to talk to people and put it out there and it was amazing, the love that came back. I felt empowered by it.’

Speaking to Holly and Phil, Samantha said that four months after being diagnosed she was feeling ‘really good’.

While she said it was ‘terrifying’ at the beginning, she felt lucky that it was less than two centimetres and that there were now ‘so many new treatments now are changing the face of cancer’.

‘It was really incredible because I didn’t find a lump, I didn’t feel unwell,’ she explained of how she discovered she was unwell.

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. #OliviaNewtonJohn

‘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.’

However she encouraged women to continue checking themselves.

‘So many women should be checking themselves in their 30’s and 40’s. There are so many women who would be diagnosed sooner if they checked themselves,’ she said.

This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.

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