Malandra Burrows is used to being in the public eye, but usually as her character in a soap opera. But now, the former Emmerdale actor is using her fame for something entirely different – highlighting the link between the menopause and breast cancer, something that too few women know about.
Devastatingly, Malandra has been diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and as a result has just had surgery to remove a tumour from her left breast
Speaking to OK! Magazine, Malandra says she’s not taking the diagnosis lying down and is using it to help spread the word that women should be checking their breasts and to get anything unusual checked out.
“You may think you’re super healthy, but that little C word can still get you. I just happened to catch myself whilst exercising and thought, good grief, what’s that?”
At first, she thought it was a gland, but after a few days it was still there so her GP referred her to a specialist. A week later, she was told it was a cyst. She describes the relief as extraordinary. But then a follow up scan showed something a lot more sinister.
“The consultant said they needed to see me as soon as possible and that I should bring someone with me. But I’m single and I felt I couldn’t do that to a friend. In the end, I wasn’t alone, I was greeted by a Macmillan nurse and I just knew.”
But, determined to be positive, Malandra instantly said she’d be ringing the bell soon enough when she was cancer free
“I’d already galvanised myself before hearing the news, so I’ve never cried about it. In that week, my body involuntarily had a breakdown. I didn’t feel like I was breaking down, but I just couldn’t eat or do anything.”
Her doctors then explained to her that her type of breast cancer could be linked to the menopause
“Davina McCall has done a fabulous job of bringing the menopause to the forefront but I have never heard of menopausal cancer before. They said because of the [drop in] oestrogen and the way your hormonal balance changes, it’s one of the major causes of breast cancer”.
Malandra is now due to undergo chemotherapy over the coming months, something she’s understandably nervous about. But she remains humorous saying
“There’s no point having wonderful boobs that are your own but pushing up daisies”. She’s accepting of the fact that if she needs a mastectomy, then that’s what she’ll need to do in order to live her life.
Malandra was due a mammogram in 2020, but due to the pandemic, it was cancelled, something she believes would have caught things earlier.
So her message to all women is, be breast aware and as soon as you can go for a mammogram, book your appointment. It could save your life.
Have you been diagnosed with breast cancer as you approached menopause? Would you be happy to share your story to help empower others? We would love to hear from you at email@example.com