British actress Lynda Bellingham is refusing to despair over her recent cancer diagnosis, insisting she was more concerned about dropping out of a play.
The 65-year-old was due to tour the U.K. as the star of Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman but has postponed her appearances to receive treatment.
She released a statement saying she was "devastated" to pull out of the national tour, but refused to divulge any further details of her condition.
Now she has spoken up about the diagnosis, revealing she will keep the type of cancer from which she's suffering a secret and will refuse to allow her upcoming chemotherapy sessions get her down.
The All Creatures Great and Small star tells Britain's Daily Mail, "You have no idea. I honestly minded more about having to pull out of the play than I did about the cancer itself.
"(After the cancer diagnosis) I sat down and it was then that he (the doctor) uttered the immortal words: 'Lynda Bellingham, you are not going to die.' I could have hugged him. It's the mantra I've since repeated every day to myself.
"I'm just not ready to share the intimate details of all of that at the moment. It's my body and nobody else's business. In months to come, I may change my mind... It's early days. It's been a lot to absorb and I'd like to hang on to something so private, something that remains mine and mine alone.
"There have been so many advances in the field of medicine in the last few decades. Two generations ago, for example, diabetes was a killer. Now, we understand more how to live with it and manage it. The same is true of lots of cancers. I certainly don't regard the course of chemo as being a hiding to nothing (hopeless).
"Nor am I in denial. I'm taking it seriously. I know I couldn't tour the country in a demanding play. But I've always been a positive person and I'm now putting myself first."