Emmerdales Malandra Burrows opens up about cancer battle

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The 56-year-old has had a stage three tumour removed from her left breast and is about to start chemotherapy. But she says: “I do not want to make this cancer my life.

“When I tell people, they say to me, ‘I can’t believe you can talk about it and be so positive,’ but it’s the reality and you have to be positive.”

Malandra, who portrayed Kathy Glover in the ITV soap for 16 years, was diagnosed in February after discovering a lump the month before.

After seeing her GP and being referred to a hospital for a scan and an ultrasound, a consultant asked her to return and bring someone with her.

Malandra said: “I thought, ‘I’ve got to take this on my own.’ I’m single and I felt I couldn’t do that to a friend.

“When I went in, I found myself greeted by a Macmillan nurse and I just knew. She nearly broke down telling me, but I just went, ‘Don’t be daft!’

“We’ll get through it and I’m going to ring that bell [to mark the end of treatment].

“I had already galvanised myself before hearing the news so I’ve never cried about it.

“I’ve kind of gone into combat mode. If I look back, I’ve given it everything I can and that’s all I can do.

“When it’s your life at stake, you’re prepared to do everything to get through. That’s helped me focus.”

Doctors told Malandra her type of cancer may have been caused by going through the menopause. She told this week’s S Magazine: “Davina [McCall] has done a fabulous job of bringing menopause to the forefront, but I had never heard of menopausal cancer.

“They told me that, because of the oestrogen and the way your hormonal balance changes, it’s one of the most major causes of breast cancer.”

She decided to share her story to help raise awareness and encourage women to get checked out: “I tell all ladies, go and get a mammogram. No matter what age you are, if something seems suspicious, go to your GP.

“It’s half a day of your life to potentially save your life.”

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