When life imitates art

Viewers were unaware that Sally Whittaker was diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time as her soap character

I was really quite shocked to read that the actress Sally Whittaker, who plays the character of Sally Webster in TV soap, Coronation Street, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a case of life imitating art when the actress discovered she had cancer after a plotline in which her character underwent treatment for breast cancer.    

Sally was diagnosed six months ago, days after filming scenes in which her character Sally Webster was told she had the disease. She carried on acting and filmed the show’s poignant Christmas Day scenes when she told her husband Kevin about her diagnosis.    

Sally discovered the cancerous lump in her breast herself, prompted by her storyline. ‘If I had not been researching this storyline, I may not have discovered the lump in my breast and had it looked at so quickly,’ she told Hello magazine this week. ‘I had never properly checked my breast before because I thought this wasn’t going to happen to me. It’s a stupid thing to think, but I think a lot of women are like that.”    

Despite the coincidence Sally bravely vowed to continue filming her soap scenes in a bid to raise awareness about the condition. ‘Those were the hardest scenes I’ve ever had to film,’ she said. She filmed her cancer plotline scenes in a month’s block then took a break to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy.