Former Coronation Street star Victoria Ekanoye has revealed she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The 39-year-old actress is preparing for a double mastectomy after finding a lump in her left breast while feeding her newborn son Theodore.

Ekanoye, best known for playing Angie Appleton in the long-running ITV soap explained that the death of Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding, who died from breast cancer in September, also encouraged her to get answers about the lump.

Ekanoye who was in the soap between 2017 and 2019 told OK! magazine: “This is going to sound so cheesy, but I almost feel like having Theo and breastfeeding him has saved me.

“Had I never been fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed, those lumps would never have come up the way they did.”

The Leader: The actress gave birth to her son in January. (PA)The actress gave birth to her son in January. (PA)

Death of Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding inspired Corries actress

She added that the death of Harding also affected her, saying: “We’re the same age. It was really alarming for me, as it was for everyone. And so sad. Really sad.

“If anything it made me determined to get to the bottom of things with my health.”

The birth of her son had also been traumatic and she said it feels “almost inconceivable” to have to go through another intense medical issue so soon afterwards.

She added: “It feels unfair. It’s already so hard being a parent. When this happened I just thought, ‘Can we get a bit of a break please!’

“I feel a bit overwhelmed and I’m scared because, as optimistic as the outlook is, you can’t predict the future.

“I just want to be here. I’ve got a life to live and a family to love and look after.”

Being a mum motivated Victoria Ekanoye to seek medical advice

Ekanoye said she plans to have her breast reconstructive surgery at the same time as the double mastectomy so as not to put her through surgery twice due to the increased risk caused by her sickle cell disease.

She said her newborn motivated her through the diagnosis, adding: “He is the cutest, sweetest little thing. He’s growing so quickly and he’s so advanced and it’s blowing our minds.

“Those little moments with him… it’s bittersweet as I think, ‘I want to be around forever for him’ but he also gets me through.

“I’m so grateful. Not everyone has something so positive to anchor onto. He’s like my little guardian angel, keeping my head above water.”

Ekanoye has also planned a fundraiser for November 18 for Prevent Breast Cancer and Sickle Cell Care Manchester, both of which she is a patron of, to celebrate medical progress in these areas and also as a “send-off” party for her breasts.