Former Loose Women panelist Carol McGiffin has revealed that for the last 12 months she has been being treated for "aggressive" breast cancer.
The TV star was diagnosed last April and has since undergone a mastectomy and 15 rounds of radio- and chemotherapy.
Having found a lump on her breast while on holiday in February last year, the 54-year-old was diagnosed with a “highly aggressive stage 3 tumour”.
McGiffin, who quit Loose Women in 2013 after 13 years on the show, said: "I don't want to pretend any more. I kept it a secret because I didn't want anyone feeling sorry for me.
"I feel it is over now and I've got through it. I just want to be able to go out without my hat on and for people not to be bothered. I just want my life to get back to normal," she told the Sunday Mirror.
She said her friend Lynda Bellingham, who died in October from colon cancer at 66, had said "f***ing hell, not you an' all", when she told her of her own condition.
"She was a bit annoyed I hadn't told her before but that was Lynda all over - worrying about others."
She said her fiance Mark Cassidy had helped shave her hair off and that he had “been unbelievable” throughout her ordeal.
“I think it has been tougher for Mark than me. When my hair started falling out, I thought there was no point hanging onto it. We bought a pair of clippers and Mark shaved it off,” MGiffin said.
She praised the NHS staff at the Royal Free Hospital in London, where she said she had at one point been placed in the isolation unit next to the Ebola ward.
"I felt as if I should keep in touch with the people who cared for me but like all NHS staff they're too busy looking after the next patient. But my gratitude knows no bounds and I'm sure they know that," she wrote her regular column for The Sunday People.
McGiffin, best known as a regular panellist on the ITV daytime talk show Loose Women, began her broadcasting career in 1988 as co-host of the Chris Evans show on GLR and in 1995 became the founding member of the Talk Radio UK team.
She was previously married to Evans but the couple separated in 1994 after three years together and divorced in 1998.Reuse content