Dame Julie Walters, 69, reveals she had stage three bowel cancer

Carla Harmon
February 20, 2020

Actress Julie Walters says she has undergone surgery to remove 30 cm of her colon and taken a course of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.

Dame Julie, 69, said she had visited the doctor with indigestion and "slight discomfort" a year earlier but later came back suffering with stomach pain, heartburn and vomiting.

Asked what her response was to the cancer diagnosis, Walters said: "Shock".

'I was still thinking, "That's ridiculous, he must have made a mistake". "I couldn't believe it", she said.

Walters then spoke about how hard it was to tell her husband, Grant Roffey, the bad news. "And tears came into his eyes and I thought, 'Oh Grant!' So I then anxious about him, more than me".


In an interview which aired on Thursday in the United Kingdom, the BAFTA-winning actress said she initially thought a mistake had been made.

Now, Walters said she is doing "really well", sharing that she "just had a scan and I know that [I'm] clear".

Julie also revealed the surgery left her feeling "exhausted" and "a bit low" in the days after she went under the knife. Here We Go Again, with her agent telling people she had a ruptured hernia in order to keep the cancer diagnosis secret.

While on the set of The Secret Garden, she received a phone call asking her to come in - and the specialist informed her that they had found an abnormality in her intestine.

"It would have to be something I'm really engaged with [to take another role on]", she said.


"It was too tender and too private and I just wasn't ready".

According to the American Cancer Society, bowel cancer, which is also known as colorectal cancer, is the third most common cancer among men and women in the US, with an estimated 104,610 new cases of the disease projected for 2020.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United Kingdom, affecting tens of thousands of people each year.

'But the other thing I thought was, "God, the last time I saw her was in the hospital sitting by the bed".

"We are incredibly grateful to her for speaking so openly about her diagnosis".


"If you or your loved one receive a free NHS bowel cancer screening test in the post, completing it could save your life".

Other reports by iNewsToday

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER