EastEnders’ Laila Morse reveals her co-star Wendy Richard ‘saved her life’

EastEnders star Laila Morse revealed that her soap star pal Wendy Richard saved her life by pestering her to go for a life-saving doctors appointment. 

The 76-year-old actress, known for playing Mo Slater, discovered a lump on her breast but was reluctant to seek medical consultation until Wendy hassled her. 

She told the Mirror: ‘I found this lump and I thought: “Ah, it can’t be much.” So I went into work and I told Wendy Richard and she said: “Go to the doctor, I don’t like the sound of that.”‘ 

Grateful: EastEnder's star Laila Morse revealed that her soap star pal Wendy Richard saved her life by pestering her to go for a life-saving doctors appointment

Grateful: EastEnder's star Laila Morse revealed that her soap star pal Wendy Richard saved her life by pestering her to go for a life-saving doctors appointment

Grateful: EastEnder’s star Laila Morse revealed that her soap star pal Wendy Richard saved her life by pestering her to go for a life-saving doctors appointment

Laila admitted she lied to Wendy when she checked in to see if she’d been to the doctors.   

But her persistant asking was enough to convince Laila she ought to go, despite her reservations. 

She recalled of her eventual appointment: ‘He [the doctor] wrote a note and within two weeks I’d had the test done, a mammogram, and I had breast cancer.’ 

Following the terrifying diagnosis, Laila then had life-saving surgery to remove lymph nodes from her left breast. 

Lucky: The actress, known for playing Mo Slater, discovered a lump on her breast but was reluctant to seek medical consultation until Wendy hassled her (pictured on EastEnders)

Lucky: The actress, known for playing Mo Slater, discovered a lump on her breast but was reluctant to seek medical consultation until Wendy hassled her (pictured on EastEnders)

Lucky: The actress, known for playing Mo Slater, discovered a lump on her breast but was reluctant to seek medical consultation until Wendy hassled her (pictured on EastEnders)

But while Laila recovered, Wendy had a third resurgence of her own aggressive breast cancer in 2008 that spread across her body.  

The Pauline Fowler actress passed away in February 2009 aged 65 with Laila crediting her friend for saving her life by encouraging her to get checked for cancer. 

Laila said: ‘I think if it hadn’t been for her, I don’t think I would be here today really.’ 

Sad: Mo, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, recovered after having lymph nodes removed, but Wendy sadly passed away in 2009 from a third resurgence of her own aggressive breast cancer (pictured in 2005 with Jessie Wallace)

Sad: Mo, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, recovered after having lymph nodes removed, but Wendy sadly passed away in 2009 from a third resurgence of her own aggressive breast cancer (pictured in 2005 with Jessie Wallace)

Sad: Mo, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, recovered after having lymph nodes removed, but Wendy sadly passed away in 2009 from a third resurgence of her own aggressive breast cancer (pictured in 2005 with Jessie Wallace)

In tribute, Laila is now joining a host of stars on Strictly The Real Full Monty as they strip off to promote life-saving cancer checks this Christmas. 

The class of 2021 hitting the dance floor this year also includes Love Island favourites Demi Jones, 23 – who is battling thyroid cancer – and Teddy Soares, 26, as well as Blue singer Duncan James, 43.

They will be revealing all alongside Olympian Colin Jackson, 54, EastEnders actress Laila Morse, 76, Loose Women star Brenda Edwards, 52, and Homes Under the Hammer presenter Martin Roberts, 58.

Wow! In tribute, Laila is now joining a host of stars on Strictly The Real Full Monty as they strip off to promote life-saving cancer checks this Christmas (Pictured in 2018)

Wow! In tribute, Laila is now joining a host of stars on Strictly The Real Full Monty as they strip off to promote life-saving cancer checks this Christmas (Pictured in 2018)

Wow! In tribute, Laila is now joining a host of stars on Strictly The Real Full Monty as they strip off to promote life-saving cancer checks this Christmas (Pictured in 2018)

The nervous new recruits will be baring all to raise awareness of cancer checks, whilst bringing old school glitz and glamour to the all-new supersized strip. 

As always with The Real Full Monty, the celebrities taking on the challenge all have stories to tell about how cancer has touched the lives of themselves or those closest to them. 

Presenter, choreographer and mentor Ashley Banjo will support the anxious stars as they take on a completely new twist in front of a screaming audience in Blackpool. 

Taking the lead: Presenter, choreographer and mentor Ashley Banjo will support the anxious stars as they take on a completely new twist in front of a screaming audience in Blackpool

Taking the lead: Presenter, choreographer and mentor Ashley Banjo will support the anxious stars as they take on a completely new twist in front of a screaming audience in Blackpool

Taking the lead: Presenter, choreographer and mentor Ashley Banjo will support the anxious stars as they take on a completely new twist in front of a screaming audience in Blackpool

Ashley Banjo said: ‘I’m so excited to be working with a new brilliant, bold and brave line-up of celebrities for Strictly the Real Full Monty. 

‘It’s going to be our biggest musical dance extravaganza yet and we are determined to get the message out there that early cancer checks in intimate areas save lives. So don’t forget to check your bits and baubles this Christmas!’

ITV Factual Commissioner Kate Teckman said: ‘This year we’re bringing our message with a bang by adding a huge dose of sequins, sparkles, sambas and salsas to the strip.

‘They’ll also be star guest performances and stunning solos so hold onto your mirror balls – this is strictly the most ambitious Full Monty yet!’ 

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.

When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.

Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men though this is rare.

Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast growing. High grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.

What causes breast cancer?

A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.

Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign. 

The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  • Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under the microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.

If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest x-ray.

How is breast cancer treated?

Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.

  • Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
  • Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focussed on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying
  • Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is treatment?

The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.

The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 mean more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

For more information visit breastcancercare.org.uk, breastcancernow.org or www.cancerhelp.org.uk

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