EastEnders actress Cheryl Fergison opens up on nine-year womb cancer secret after terrifying diagnosis: 'Thought I'd die'

EastEnders actress Cheryl Fergison opens up on nine-year womb cancer secret after terrifying diagnosis: 'Thought I'd die'

Ben Mitchell kills Heather Trott in iconic EastEnders episode

Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 29/04/2024

- 10:08

The actress is best known for playing Heather Trott in the BBC soap series from 2007 to 2012

EastEnders actress Cheryl Fergison has opened up about her womb cancer diagnosis and shares the reason why she kept it a secret for almost a decade - thinking she was going to die.

Fergison played the George Michael-loving character of Heather Trott in the BBC soap for five years and was eventually killed off after being struck across the back of the head by Ben Mitchell (played by Max Bowden).

Shortly after her exit in 2012, Fergison was diagnosed with stage two womb cancer in 2015 and described that period of her life as a "horrendous time".

After keeping it a secret for nine years, she recently told OK! magazine: "There were some dark moments, especially at night, when I thought, 'Am I going to die? Am I going to leave my husband without a wife, my son without a mum?

"But the time is right to talk about it all now. I'm hoping my story might empower other women. I've been through a lot but I'm still here. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

The 58-year-old received her diagnosis after attending her routine smear test appointment, with the results initially coming back all clear.

Cheryl Fergison

Cheryl was battling stage two womb cancer for nine years


However, she soon began to experience back pain and spotting blood which she knew wasn't normal for her, so she called her GP straight away, quickly being referred for some tests and a biopsy at a local hospital.

After four months of waiting for her results, she was given the news of her cancer and explained that when she heard the diagnosis she felt like it was an "out of body experience".

"I was in absolute shock; stunned to the core. I couldn't believe the doctor was talking about me," with the weeks following consisting of X-rays.

Fergison was soon recommended for a full hysterectomy, with the news hitting her hard as she always wondered whether she would want another child.

Shirley Carter and Heather Trott

Cheryl Fergison starred as Heather Trott for five years


Fergison now lives with her husband of 12 years - Yassine - and shares her son Alex, 24, from her first marriage to Jamshed Saddiqi.

The pair hadn't long been married before her diagnosis and she recalled how she felt sadness that "any thought of having children together had been taken away."

At the time, the soap star only shared the news with a few of her friends in the industry, including Dame Barabra Windsor, June Brown and Steve McFadden.

She also confided in entertainment icons Paul O'Grady and Julian Clary before being given the all-clear last year.

Cheryl Fergison

Cheryl Fergison opened up about her cancer diagnosis


Sharing her diagnosis comes as earlier this month she revealed she was rushed to hospital after being left in "complete agony".

Releasing a lengthy statement through The Mirror, she explained that her experience was an "eye-opening" one and was thankfully "home and on the road to recovery".

She noted how she had been "in and out of hospital" for the past nine years due to some "serious health conditions" and added: "I was treated for an infection with six-hourly antibiotics IV drips and at times was in complete agony.

"I'm glad to say the infection is subsiding and I am now home and on the road to recovery. My family have been by my side throughout this whole ordeal.

"Spending 24 hours in A&E was more than an eye-opening experience. The pure abuse and overrun conditions that our health workers have to endure were painful to watch. The lack of appreciation that was showed by some people within my time there was very difficult to watch."

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