The Absolutely Fabulous star spent 10 months fighting breast cancer, and she underwent surgery and chemotherapy before doctors told her she was in remission last year (10).
The funnywoman has maintained a public silence about her illness but has now opened up to reveal she refuses to “identify” herself by association with the disease and finds it hard to believe she even had it.
Saunders tells The Sunday Times Style magazine, “(I’m) feeling back to normal… The funny thing is, and we can talk about it now, but honestly I’ve forgotten I had it. I look back and think, ‘I can’t believe that actually happened.’ Apart from the fact that I have to take some medication now, I don’t feel like a person who’s been through it.
“I think a lot of people like to identify themselves by it, but I would feel a cheat if I did that. I feel very fortunate and well cared for, and lucky to have been able to go (to a) private (healthcare unit). People have much worse times, so it would feel ghastly to want to evoke any sort of sympathy or something. It is what it is. You take the medicine and you’re better. It’s like anything.”
Saunders is also adamant she wasn’t too bothered about the effects of the treatment on her appearance, such as hair loss, until it took a toll on her face.
She adds, “Actually, you get away with it, just about, otherwise you pull on a hat. Then my face went. That was the only time I thought, ‘F**k, that’s not fair’. I didn’t go out… I think the idea of losing your hair is still a very potent, emotional thing. Not for me, I didn’t mind it so much. What I didn’t realise was that every bit of hair would go. Then, when it comes back, it comes back a lot. Every hair you’ve ever had is suddenly back – reborn.”