CASUALTY star Simon MacCorkindale has revealed that he is suffering from terminal cancer after keeping it secret for three years.
Simon, 57, who played consultant Harry Harper in the BBC medical drama, first experienced stomach cramps while filming for the programme in Bristol in 2006.
Shortly afterwards, he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
Doctors reassured him that he could expect a swift and full recovery after surgeons removed a 2ft diseased section of his bowel. But a year later he was told that the disease had spread to his lungs and was incurable.
“It came as a complete bombshell,” he said. “The doctor said I had lung cancer – me, who never smoked a cigarette and always tried to live a healthy lifestyle.
“He said it was incurable. It was such a body blow my mind went numb.”
Simon and his wife, actress and film producer Susan George, kept the illness a secret – until now.
“We are very private people and wanted to deal with it on our own,” he said. We thought no one needed to know because, for the first year or so, we didn’t think it was that serious.”
According to his doctors, Simon may only have three years to live, but he is determined to keep fighting the disease.
As well as a six-month course of chemotherapy, he is undergoing a range of alternative therapies.
Simon said: “People have such a fear of the C words – both cancer and chemotherapy.
“They have a hugely negative impact, but I’m sitting here perfectly healthy.
“I don’t want people to think I’m pale, losing my hair, losing weight and on the way out. I’m not. I’m as active as I’ve ever been.”