Dame Julie Walters was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer

Megan Sutton
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

Dame Julie Walters has revealed she was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer 18 months ago, with two primary tumours in her large intestine.

The actor told the news to BBC's Victoria Derbyshire, sharing that she'd undergone surgery and chemotherapy and has now been given the all clear.

The Mamma Mia! and Billy Elliot star initially thought doctors "must have made a mistake" when they gave her the cancer diagnosis.

Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images

She had first gone to see her doctor a year earlier with indigestion and "slight discomfort", later returning with symptoms of stomach pain, heartburn and vomiting.

After being referred to a gastric surgeon and getting a CT scan, she was told that she had cancer.

"I was still thinking: 'That's ridiculous, he must have made a mistake'. I couldn't believe it," Dame Julie said.

In the interview, Julie remembered the moment she told her husband, Grant Roffey, the news.

"I'll never forget his face. Tears came into his eyes," she said.

Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images

After having an operation to take 30cm out of her colon and going through chemotherapy, Julie has been given the all clear. She told Victoria she's "really well".

"I've just had a scan, and I know that [I'm] clear," she said.

Julie also spoke about how the health scare made her reassess her workload. Asked if she thought The Secret Garden (out in April) could be her last film, she said it was possible.

"It would have to be something I'm really engaged with [to take another role on].

"I'm not saying I'll never act again. But I certainly don't think I can go back to [a film that requires working] six days a week, five in the morning till seven o'clock at night."

If you have concerns about bowel cancer symptoms, speak to your GP.

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