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Former Emmerdale star Malandra Burrows reveals she has stage three breast cancer

Malandra Burrows
Malandra Burrows played Emmerdale's Kathy Glover for more than 15 years. (Image credit: Alamy)

Emmerdale star Malandra Burrows has revealed she has undergone major surgery after being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. 

The actress, who is best known for playing Kathy Glover in Emmerdale between 1985 and 2001, is now facing a six-month course of grueling chemotherapy after finding a lump in her left breast. 

Malandra has bravely opened up about her diagnosis, which she received back in February, in the hope that it will raise awareness and encourage other women to get checked out if they notice changes in their bodies. 

The actress told OK Magazine (opens in new tab): "You may think you’re super healthy, but that little 'C' word can still get you. I just happened to catch myself [while exercising] and thought, 'Good grief, what’s that?'

"I thought it must be a gland, but a few days later it was still there, so I rang my GP and they asked if I could come in the next hour. A week later I was at the hospital and the first consultant told me it was a cyst. He said, 'I won’t be seeing you again'. The relief I felt!"

Malandra Burrows as Kathy Bates in Emmerdale

Malandra Burrows as Kathy Bates in Emmerdale. (Image credit: ITV)

Malandra went on to reveal that her whole world changed when a follow-up scan and ultrasound revealed something sinister... "The consultant said they needed to see me as soon as possible and added, 'Could you bring someone with you?' But I thought I’ve got to take this on my own. I’m single and I felt I couldn’t do that to a friend."

But thankfully, Malandra wasn't alone when she went to the appointment... "When I went in, I found myself greeted by a Macmillan nurse and I just knew. She nearly broke down telling me, but I just went, 'Don’t be daft! We’ll get through it and I’m going to ring that bell [to celebrate the end of treatment].'"

"Davina McCall has done a fabulous job of bringing menopause to the forefront, but I have never heard of menopausal cancer before," she continued. "They said because of the oestrogen and the way your hormonal balance changes, it’s one of the most major causes of breast cancer."

Malandra Burrows and the cast of Emmerdale group shot

Malandra became one of the longest-serving stars on Emmerdale.  (Image credit: ITV)

Malandra landed her role as Kathy Glover in Emmerdale just three months after she left drama school and what a role it was. Not only did Kathy become one of the soap's longest-running characters but she was involved in huge storylines such as being kidnapped by a diamond thief, knocked down by a horse and she also earned a name for herself as one of the most-married residents of the village.

Malandra was also a contestant on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! in 2006 and enjoyed a career as a pop singer with her first single "Just This Side of Love" reaching number 11 on the UK charts in 1990.

Claire Crick
Claire Crick

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 


After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off


She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 


As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.