Cheryl Fergison secretly battled cancer almost a decade ago.

Cheryl Fergison secretly battled cancer more than a decade ago

Cheryl Fergison secretly battled cancer more than a decade ago

The 58-year-old actress - who is married to Yassim al-Jemoni, 39, but has 24-year-old son Alex with ex-husband Jamshed Saddiqi - was diagnosed with stage two womb cancer in 2015 and underwent a hysterectomy but kept the news to herself until now.

She told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "The time is right to talk about it. My family and I have been through a lot but we’re still here. Yes, there were some dark moments when I thought: ‘am I going to die?’ Am I going to leave my husband without a wife, my son without a mum? But I am strong and I’d knock those thoughts away. I was determined that it wasn’t going to beat me."

Cheryl decided not to go public with her diagnosis, and only confided in some of her close friends including the likes of Dame Barbara Windsor, June Brown and Steve McFadden as well as Paul O’Grady and Julian Clary.

The former 'EastEnders' star - who played Heather Trott on the BBC One soap opera from 2007 until 2012 - was left in "absolute shock" at the diagnosis and noted that it "impacted" her as a woman because she had not long been married to Yassim but had any chance of having more children taken away from her.

She said: "I was in absolute shock; stunned to the core. I couldn't believe the doctor was talking about me.

"I remember in the scanner having an earpiece in to listen to music and ‘Paradise’ by Coldplay was playing. I thought ‘this is about as far from paradise as it’s possible to be’.

"All I could think was ‘I have to get this thing out of me’ but it was very difficult. It impacted how I felt as a woman.

“I’d not long married Yassine and suddenly any thought of having a child together had been taken away.

"We may not have gone down that route, of course, but we’d lost the ability to choose. It brought on early menopause too; in terms of how I saw myself as a woman, it felt as if it had all come to an end. It was a horrendous time."