Malandra Burrows: what did Emmerdale star say about her dog - when was she diagnosed with breast cancer?

The 56-year-old actress said that her one-year-old border terrier Teddy ‘saved my life’ after the pup made her aware that something was wrong

In April, Former Emmerdale star Malandra Burrows opened up about her recent breast cancer diagnosis in a new tell all interview with OK.

Recently, Burrows has issued a plea to all women to “please go and get a mammogram” as it’s an appointment which can “potentially save your life”.

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This is everything you need to know.

Who is Malandra Burrows?

Malandra Burrows is an English actress and singer, best known for her role on the ITV soap Emmerdale, in which she has appeared in the long running role of Kathy Glover. The character made her first appearance on 26 November 1985.

She played Kathy Glover until 2001, but reprised the role in 2005 when the character returned to TV screens to attend the funeral of Seth Armstrong, who was played by Stan Richards (Coronation Street, The Price of Coal) from May 1978 until his death in 2005.

Malandra Burrows as Kathy Glover (Photo: ITV)

Burrows was born on 4 November 1965 to parents Malcolm and Sandra - her first name, Malandra, is a mashup of both her parents’ first names.

Burrows developed a passion for performing from a young age, and in 1974, she appeared as the youngest ever winner of talent show New Faces and appeared on the “all-winners” edition of the show with Les Dennis and Victoria Wood.

A few years later, in 1978, she won the BBC Merseyside Songwriter of the Year Award.

She attended the Everyman Youth Theatre in Liverpool before enrolling in a Liverpool Drama School. Before she even left drama school, Burrows made a number of appearances on TV, starring in The Practice, The Fell Tiger and Brookside.

Malandra Burrows at the 49th Variety Club Race Day at Sandown race course on September 1, 2007 in London (Photo by Claire Greenway/Getty Images)

You may also recognise Burrows from a number of reality and quiz TV shows, including Celebrity Weakest Link, Simply the Best, The All Star Talent Show and, perhaps most notably, the 2006 season of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

Outside of acting, Burrows has also pursued a music career, and managed to reach number 11 on the UK Singles Chart with her 1990 song Just This Side of Love. After releasing another single, Summernight Love, in 1996, she bagged a recording contract with Warner Bros, which resulted in two more singles - Carnival in Heaven and Don’t Leave Me.

Is she married?

Burrows has never been married, in contrast to her character on Emmerdale - Kathy Glover was married three times.

Kathy first married Jackie Merrick (played by Ian Sharrock), however their relationship ended after Jackie accidentally shot himself in 1989. She then married Chris Tate (played by Peter Amory), however that ended when he admitted to having an affair.

Chris Tate and Kathy Glover (Photo: ITV)

Kathy then married her third husband, Dave Glover (played by Ian Kelsey) in 1996, however he died whilst saving a baby from a house fire shortly before planning to elope with his mistress Kim Tate (played by Claire King).

Kathy had been set to marry a fourth time, however she was dumped by fiancé Biff at the altar in 1999.

When was she diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer?

Talking to OK, Burrows announced that she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in February after she had found a lump the month prior.

She said that she was initially told by a hospital consultant that the lump was just a cyst, saying that he said: “I won’t be seeing you again.”

“The relief I felt,” Burrows said.

However, it was after a follow-up scan and ultrasound, that Burrows was told the news.

She said: “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.”

Burrows wasn’t alone and instead she found herself greeted by a Macmillan nurse, which, Burrows said, is when she knew she had cancer.

She said that the nurse “nearly broke down telling me”, but Burrows responded: “Don’t be daft! Well get through it and I’m going to ring that bell [to signify the end of treatment].”

How is she doing?

Burrows said that she has “never cried about it”, but added: “In that week my body involuntarily had a breakdown.

“I didn’t feel like I was breaking down, but I just couldn’t eat or do anything. There was something in the back of my mind that knew what was going on inside my body.”

However, it wasn’t long before she was feeling ready to tackle her diagnosis head on.

Burrows said: “I’ve kind of gone into combat mode. If I look back, I’ve given it everything I can and that’s all I can do.

“I hate to say it, but when it’s your life at stake you’re prepared to do everything to get through. That’s helped me focus.”

Burrows is set to undergo a course of chemotherapy over the next six months, something which she knows she will need to be mentally strong for.

She said: “I’m not very good at being poorly, to feel awful and low worries me.

“I asked my [medical] team, “Do I really need to go through this?” and they said that if this cancer is allowed to spread around my body, they could do nothing more.

“I’ve got to be brave.”

Burrows also added: “You’ve got to look on the bright side. When you see what’s happening in Ukraine, I just think I’m really lucky and all the treatment I’m getting, whether I love or hate it, is there to save my life.”

What has she said about mammograms?

Speaking to the Sunday Express, Burrows said: “Since my diagnosis, I tell all ladies to please go and get a mammogram.

“No matter what age you are, if something seems suspicious, go to your GP. You won’t regret it.

“It’s half a day of your life to potentially save your life. When I’ve told people, they’ve said, “You’re fit and healthy, you can’t have cancer!” and that was the big shock, because I didn’t feel poorly.”

What caused her cancer?

According to Burrows, doctors explained to her that her type of cancer may have been triggered by menopause.

She said: “Davina [McCall] has done a fabulous job of bringing menopause to the forefront, but I have never heard of menopausal cancer before.

“They said because of the oestrogen and the way your hormonal balance changes, it’s one of the most major causes of breast cancer.”

According to the NHS, the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, and is most common in women over 50 who have been through the menopause.

The NHS says: “The female hormone oestrogen can sometimes stimulate breast cancer cells and cause them to grow.”

What did she say about her dog?

Talking to the Mirror, Burrows said that her dog, Teddy, was what first alerted her to something being potentially wrong, prior to her breast cancer diagnosis.

Burrows said that Teddy, a one-year-old border terrier, “insisted” on lying on her chest and “was constantly nuzzling me”.

She said: “[Teddy] just kept looking up at me, staring in a very strange way, then without warning, she thumped me with her head on my left breast so hard it brought tears to my eyes.”

After Teddy’s painful bump, Burrows checked her breast to see if there was any visible injury.

Burrows said: “It hurt so much that before I went to bed I checked to see if there was any bruising, which was the moment I felt something that had never been there before.”

She thought that what she felt might have just been a swollen gland, caused by Teddy’s nudge. However, when the swelling remained a few days later, Burrows decided to contact her GP.

“If it were not for Teddy I would have never known about this and I honestly believe she saved my life,” Burrows said.

“She’s truly a wonderful little character, we have such a strong bond and I’m so grateful for her. I’ve even forgiven her for chewing up the sun lounger.”