Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Star reveals secret cancer battle

Hayley Mills has been talking about her battle with breast cancer

Hayley Mills has revealed that she fought a secret battle with breast cancer.

The 65-year-old, the daughter of the late actor John Mills, said that she was given the diagnosis in 2008, on her birthday.

The Wild At Heart actress told Good Housekeeping magazine that she wanted to open up about the experience, following her recovery. The star, who launched her acting career at the age of 12 with the film Tiger Bay, later winning a Bafta for the role, said of her diagnosis: "It was my birthday when I received the news...

"I was sitting in the sun by the Hudson River following a routine mammogram when I got the call on my mobile.

"It was an enormous shock. Suddenly, I looked out at the world as if I'd never seen it before.

"Everything felt clearer and sharper. And when you hear that diagnosis, you realise, 'Now I'm going to find out what I'm actually made of'."

Hayley, who was propelled to world fame in the 1960s thanks to Disney films Pollyanna and The Parent Trap, had surgery "very quickly" after discovering she had cancer in both breasts.

She suggested that her sister Juliet, who is also an actress, could replace her in Wild At Heart. "It worked really well, and at the end of the series I came out to do one day's shooting. That gave me a real focus to get well."

The actress said that she was "totally knocked out" by the chemotherapy and that she lost all her hair within two weeks of the first dose. She said: "I got to a point when I thought, 'to hell with this', so he (Hayley's son Jason) shaved my head!

:: The full interview is in the February issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale from Thursday.

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