ENTERTAINMENT
23/07/2013 08:15 BST

Lynda Bellingham On Cancer Diagnosis: 'Bernie Nolan Was A Great Role Model For Us All'

Lynda Bellingham has spoken out about her cancer diagnosis and paid tribute to the late Bernie Nolan, who died of the disease earlier this month.

The former 'Loose Women' star revealed she has been diagnosed with cancer last week, and in an open letter in Yours magazine, she said that news of Bernie's death had acted as a reminder how serious the disease is.

lynda bellingham

Lynda Bellingham

“When you hear the word cancer applied to yourself, you do initially think it’s a death sentence – even though in my case it certainly isn’t," she wrote.

“And had I needed any reminder of how serious it can be, I woke up to face my first bout of chemotherapy discovering poor Bernie Nolan had died. I just felt so, so, sad, having worked with Bernie on 'The Bill' and 'Calendar Girls'.”

Paying tribute to her former co-star, Lynda went on: “I admired her enormously for her bravery, honesty, and for being such a fantastic performer. A great role model for us all.”

bernie nolan

Bernie Nolan

She added: “I know I am fantastically lucky to have a very quick diagnosis and to benefit from all the phenomenal cancer research going on. I am also surrounded by such a fantastic oncology team. I haven’t met one nurse yet who is anything less than 100% positive and it does rub off.”

After Lynda received news of her diagnosis, she pulled out of a theatre tour of Kay Mellor's 'A Passionate Woman' while she undergoes treatment.

in a statement reported by the BBC, she said: "I'm devastated not to be able to honour my commitments to the play this year.

"But having toured many times before, I'm aware of the sheer stamina needed and I need to prioritise my recovery.

"That said, nothing's going to stop me coming back next year, and I can't wait to be 'a passionate woman'."

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