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16/02/2015 08:29 GMT | Updated 16/02/2015 08:59 GMT

Carol McGiffin: 'I Wasn't Prepared For The Public Reaction To My Breast Cancer News'

Carol McGiffin says she’s been overwhelmed by the public’s support since speaking about her year-long battle with cancer for the first time.

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The former ‘Loose Women’ panelist revealed this weekend that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, which led her to have a mastectomy, as well as numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Carol has now thanked her supporters for their kind words since the news emerged, telling The Mirror: “I wasn’t prepared for the reaction.

carol mcgiffin

Carol McGiffin

“From the minute the story went out online there was an explosion of good wishes on Twitter and Facebook and almost every friend I have either texted or emailed. I couldn’t keep up.”

She went on to say that hearing from other women who have been affected by breast cancer was particularly moving for her, adding: “Hearing from fellow breast cancer sufferers was particularly heartwarming. Some brought a tear to my eye. So thank you everyone and onwards and upwards.”

The former 'Celebrity Big Brother' housemate spoke over the weekend about telling her former co-presenter Lynda Bellingham - who revealed last year that she had terminal cancer, dying months later after recording one final appearance on 'Loose Women' - that she was also battling the disease.

Although Carol felt at first it would be "unfair" to tell Lynda, she claims: "The last time I saw her was one of the handful of times I’ve worn my wig. I met up with some of the old 'Loose Women' beforehand and we’d agreed not to tell her.

"But as we were chatting, Denise [Welch] said, ‘I think you should tell her,’ so I did. Bellers said to me, ‘F****** hell! Not you an’ all.’ It broke the ice and she was laughing and joking with me.

“It felt really comfortable. She was a bit ­annoyed that I hadn’t told her before but that was Lynda all over – worrying about others."

Carol was the longest-running 'Loose Women' presenter ever, spending 13 years on the panel before quitting last summer to appear on 'CBB'.

Determined to put her cancer experience behind her, it was rumoured last December that she would be going on tour with former co-presenters Denise Welch and Lisa Maxwell.

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