EastEnders star Samantha Womack confirms she is cancer-free five months after sharing shock diagnosis

EastEnders star Samantha Womack has revealed that she is cancer-free

EastEnders star Samantha Womack cancer-free
(Image credit: Getty)

EastEnders star Samantha Womack has bravely announced she is cancer-free, five months after her breast cancer diagnosis.

The former soap star, who is best-known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in the BBC One show, has been undergoing further treatment to prevent the cancer from returning and is set to enter 2023 cancer-free.

Samantha, who recently celebrated turning 50, with a stay at The Lakes By Yoo resort in the Cotswolds with her partner and ex-Coronation Street star Oliver Farnworth, has opened up on being 'thankful for life' following successful surgery and chemotherapy.

"I just feel really thankful and really grateful that I caught it when I did,” she revealed in an interview with OK! Magazine. “I feel very thankful for my life. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s almost like I can see the beauty in everything now – like everything feels special. I keep bursting into tears, because I’m happy.

“I think it [going through cancer] shifts your perspective and suddenly everything feels really important and really vital and you suddenly just appreciate everything.”

Samantha's diagnosis came unexpectedly during a "random check" that doctors alerted her to a shadow on her right breast.

“When we saw this shadow, you could just feel the energy in the room,” she recalls. “Everything goes a bit silent. Once something like that happens you just kind of know. This lovely man who was doing the ultrasound, said, ‘Look I really urge you to go to a breast clinic, show them these findings and you really need to do a mammogram and possibly a biopsy.’

She recalled, “I was working at the time and I had these checks booked between my matinee and evening show. I was reeling, having to go back and do a show in the evening. I was very spaced out I suppose. I couldn’t quite believe it.” 

Samantha, who is mum to Benjamin, 21, and Lily, 17, from a previous marriage, has received support from her family when she was told she had a 2cm tumour and a stage one to two breast cancer with it having spread to one of her lymph nodes.

Partner Oliver, who she met just before lockdown 2020, has been a tower of strength.

“The thing with breast cancer, as a woman, it’s such a brutal attack on your femininity,” she says candidly. “Your breasts and your hair and all of those things they represent, the things that you hold on to as feeling attractive, but also make you feel feminine as a woman… It feels very brutal."

She continued, “I kept saying, ‘I don’t want you to find me ugly. I don’t want to be an embarrassment to you.’ Just silly things that you say, but they are feelings. And also, for me saying, ‘I don’t want to put you through this, why on God’s earth would you want to be with someone that’s going to be in and out of hospitals?!’ I didn’t know at the beginning how bad it was going to be.

“He kept saying to me, ‘You idiot, this is what I want, I want to be here with you. This is a privilege for me to be near you and you’re beautiful and I don’t give a s**t about your hair.’ I think it really took my breath away. I found that very emotional. I didn’t expect to feel such gratitude for someone for loving me just for me, rather than all the bits you think are important.”

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)