EastEnders legend Cheryl Fergison has opened up about her secret fight with cancer and why she never told anyone until now.

The actor, who played Heather Trott on the BBC soap opera from 2007 to 2012, discussed the challenges she has faced since being diagnosed in 2015 as well as the treatment she received.

Speaking with OK! Magazine, she said that she first visited her GP when she began spotting blood and getting backaches.

After being referred for further tests and a biopsy, she later received the news that she had stage two cancer which came as an "absolute shock" to her.

EastEnders star Cheryl Fergison opens up about secret cancer battle

After being diagnosed, she underwent a full hysterectomy and a course of radiotherapy before being given the all-clear.

She told OK! Magazine: “Any thought of Yass and I 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.”

Cheryl Fergison, who has a son called Alex from a previous marriage, married her husband Yassine Al-Jermoni in 2011.

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The EastEnders and former Celebrity Big Brother star added: “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.”

She told the magazine that she only told a few close friends about her cancer diagnosis, including former EastEnders colleagues Dame Barbara Windsor, June Brown and Steve McFadden as well as the late comedian Paul O’Grady.

She said their “support meant the world” to her, recalling how Dame Barbara offered to support her financially.

She said: “Barb said ‘Right, darling, how much? How much are your bills and your mortgage because we’d like to support you’.

“I was in shock and said no but Barb was insistent – I wasn’t earning. They sat there and wrote a cheque.

“I was sobbing but Barbara hugged me and said: ‘Don’t worry. We’re always going to be here for you’.”

The actor also revealed that she had recently been worried that a new bout of backache was a sign that her cancer had returned but after undergoing more tests, it was shown that her initial treatment had "got all the cancer".