Two of the Nolan Sisters, the Irish group that rose to fame in the 1970s, are being treated for cancer at the same time.
Linda and Anne Nolan both began chemotherapy at Blackpool’s Victoria hospital in June after their cancers returned.
Anne, 69, the eldest of the six Nolan sisters – who are best known for their hit I’m In the Mood For Dancing – was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer in April. Linda, 61, found out she has incurable liver cancer a few days later.
Bernie, the second youngest Nolan sister, died of cancer in 2013, three years after doctors discovered she had breast cancer. She was 52.
In an interview with the Sun, Linda recalled the moment they told their siblings. “We laughed and we cried really. It’s hysterical. Forget the Chemical Brothers, we’ve become the Chemo Sisters,” she said.
The sisters were diagnosed just after they finished filming the reality show The Nolans Go Cruising.
Anne was previously treated for breast cancer in 2000. Linda was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, cellulitis and lymphoedema in her arm in 2007 and secondary cancer on her pelvis in 2017.
The sisters had their first session of chemotherapy together on 5 June, and they will both have six rounds of the treatment in total.
Linda told the Sun of her shock at hearing that both she and Anne were ill again. “I thought my scans would just be fine as they normally are,” she said. “On May 7 our sister Maureen called me at 10am to say that Anne’s breast cancer had been confirmed.
“Then half an hour later my oncologist’s secretary phoned me to say: ‘We need you to have an MRI scan because we’ve seen something on your liver.’ I couldn’t tell anyone then because they were so obviously devastated about Anne. I thought: I can’t turn around now and say ‘actually I’ve got it back as well’.”
Anne’s breast cancer is stage three; the most serious kind is stage four. She said: “My first cancer was diagnosed in April 2000. I found my lump in April, so it was exactly 20 years on.”
The other sisters have rallied around their siblings, with Maureen moving in with Anne, and Linda relocating to Denise’s house.
Linda and Anne told the Sun they were seeing a psychologist to help them cope. Anne, who is divorced, said: “I’ve had anxiety attacks. That’s got something to do with the pandemic. They say when you’re having chemotherapy you can pick up any kind of infection, it can be fatal. So I think that’s been playing on my mind as well.”
Their first chemotherapy session was tough, said Linda: “It was really weird. We were sitting talking and they gave Anne one of her chemos and she had a bad reaction to one of the drugs. That was really scary because all of a sudden she couldn’t breathe properly. And I’m sitting there thinking: my god, I’m next.”