EastEnders star Samantha Womack says she would have ‘delayed cancer treatment’ to strike with NHS staff
Samantha Womack said she would have delayed her own cancer treatment to strike with NHS doctors and nurses “fighting” for better pay because they “shouldn’t be eating from food banks”.
The actress, who played Ronnie Mitchell on BBC soap opera EastEnders until 2017, described herself as a “huge advocate” and “very passionate” about the NHS, having announced last year that she had been diagnosed with “brutal” breast cancer.
The 50-year-old shared: “I am so aware that often they get used as scapegoats for getting things wrong, when in fact, this is one of the best gifts that we have in this country.
“But when you’ve got the people who are working as hard as they are doing the hours they are, not being supported, even if it would have delayed my own personal treatment, I would have been out there fighting with them, because I’m absolutely desperate for them to be paid properly and appropriately for what they do.
“They certainly shouldn’t be eating from food banks,” she told PA.
Womack recently announced that she had overcome breast cancer five months after revealing her diagnosis last August, following the death of Grease star Olivia Newton-John from the disease.
Speaking of her relationship with the late star, she shared: “We weren’t close, we only spent one evening together but it was just quite poignant that when we met and had a pretty magical evening she had just been recently diagnosed.
“It was very poignant for me when I got my diagnosis that she had lost her battle and they happened within the same timeframe.
“So it just felt quite moving and that made me want to share the story because I thought everyone knows someone that’s got cancer, and I just suddenly felt the need to share it.”
This was the most magical of evenings. Olivia and Chloe had come to see Grease in London and we had dinner together afterwards. I was so excited and in awe, she was my childhood. I now start my own battle with this disease and am left feeling deeply moved. #OliviaNewtonJohn pic.twitter.com/7vkgT5oCMf
— Sam Womack (@Sam_Womack) August 9, 2022
Womack is now supporting a campaign for more women to be able to access AI breast cancer diagnostic tool Digistain to help people understand their cancer and the treatment that will benefit them, reducing the need for “over-prescribed and expensive” chemotherapy.
Womack said the test gives a ratio of how beneficial chemotherapy would be and she was “on the fence” so had two rounds before making the decision to stop.
Womack, who played Ronnie Mitchell on BBC soap opera EastEnders until 2017, also spoke about her perspective on life after being given the all-clear.