Dawn French health: The Because of You author’s cancer scare – symptoms

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Soon to be a decade in the New Year, Dawn French underwent a life-saving operation – and it was the reason behind her dramatic weight loss at the time. What was it?

In 2011, the multi-talented star underwent a hysterectomy after braving a cancer scare.

Addressing the audience in her one woman show, in Sheffield 2014, she revealed: “I became quite ill.”

She continued: “I eventually went to hospital, and my doc [sic] was so convinced I had uterine cancer.”

Deciding to part ways with her womb, the medical advice she received changed her life.

Recommended to “lose some weight before the [operation]”, Dawn went on to lose seven-and-a-half stone.

This enabled her to undergo keyhole surgery, in which the recovery period was “three weeks or so”.

“Otherwise it would be big open surgery, and three months to recover,” she added.

How did Dawn lose so much weight? “[There’s] no magic wand,” she attested.

“Just tiny, joyless low-cal eating and lots more walking for weeks and weeks.”

Uterine cancer

The NHS explained uterine cancer is otherwise known as womb cancer or endometrial cancer.

More common in women who have underwent the menopause, the most common sign is abnormal vaginal bleeding.

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The NHS explained that any vaginal bleeding once you’ve undergone the menopause is considered “abnormal bleeding”.

For women who haven’t gone through the menopause, abnormal bleeding may include very heavy periods or bleeding between periods.

Less common symptoms include pain the lower abdomen and pain during sex.

Uterine cancer that reaches a more advanced stage may present additional symptoms.

These include pain the back, legs or pelvis; loss of appetite; tiredness; and nausea.

Obesity is seen as a risk factor for developing this condition, as being overweight increases a person’s oestrogen production.


Surgical removal of the womb is known as a hysterectomy, which can cure womb cancer in the early stages.

This procedure means the individual will no longer be able to fall pregnant.

People who have undergone this operation may find it physically more difficult to have sex.

In addition, a person’s sex drive may reduce because of the hysterectomy.

Do notify your GP immediately if you notice bleeding after the menopause or experience change in the normal pattern of your period.

Dawn French will be on the Graham Norton show, BBC One at 10:45pm to talk about her new book.

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