Dame Julie Walters feels like a 'different person' since bowel cancer diagnosis

Caroline Allen
·Contributor
·3-min read
She gave a rare update on her health. (Getty Images)
She gave a rare update on her health. (Getty Images)

Dame Julie Walters has shared a rare update on her health after her stage three bowel cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

The 70-year-old shocked both her family and fans by keeping her cancer journey a secret until she was given the all-clear.

Now, the actor is ready to share her experience, appearing on Lorraine via video link, she admitted she “felt like a different person” since her operation two years ago.

Walters also shared the good news that she was given the all clear in February following a scan.

Read more: Parents spot baby’s eye cancer with flash photograph

The Mamma Mia star initially appeared on Lorraine to speak about the impact that the coronavirus has had on domestic abuse victims as part of her role as patron of My Sister’s House in West Sussex.

After that conversation, Lorraine Kelly asked about Walter’s own wellbeing.

“So far, so good, Lorraine, thanks for asking. It's been two years in June that I had the operation,” Walters shared.

“I had a scan in February and that was clear, so yeah, as far as I know, everything is fine.”

She also took a moment to reflect on the person she has become since her shock diagnosis: “Since the cancer, I’ve felt like that was a different person, the person was acting the whole time. I feel like a different person now.

“People ask me about jobs like Mamma Mia and Harry Potter, and things like that, and it feels like it should be someone else answering, not me.

“It’s a very strange thing. I’m still in that mode of, ‘Do I ever really want to do it?’

"I’m not absolutely sure and now the lockdown has happened, so I’m off the hook a bit.”

Read more: Cancer patients share tips on how to deal with lockdown

Walters chose to hide her diagnosis not only from the world, but also from her family. Until she had the operation, the actor chose not to tell her daughter, Maisie, or her two older brothers, Tommy and Kevin. Instead, she told them she was having her appendix removed.

“I couldn’t bear the thought of everyone worrying – particularly my daughter. I didn’t want to upset people around me. I wanted to keep it small,” Walters explained to Telegraph Magazine.

Instead, she chose to only confide in her husband, Grant Roffey, until the operation was over.

Read more: The symptoms and treatment for bowel cancer

After addressing her health, she went on to discuss the coronavirus - a topic in everybody’s minds at the moment.

Like many of us, Walters has taken glimmers of hope from the COVID-19 lockdown, choosing to focus on the positives of being able to spend more time with her family.

“I’m enjoying being at home, being with my family and being on the farm and noticing things I’ve never noticed before like how fabulous the countryside and the wildlife is.”

She described the transition from working to taking time off because of the coronavirus as “like stepping off of a treadmill”.

“Life is kind of simpler, in one sense. I don’t know how long that feeling is going to last. I’ve been locked down since a week before the lockdown, I thought, ‘I’m not going out.'”

Talking about how best to get through lockdown, Walters recommended setting yourself a “task every day”.