‘Harry Potter’ Actress Reveals Bowel Cancer Diagnosis

By Sara Bondell - February 21, 2020

British Actress Julie Walters, who played Molly Weasley in the “Harry Potter” films, revealed she was diagnosed and treated for stage 3 bowel cancer in 2018.

Walters, 69, went to a doctor after experiencing indigestion, stomach pain and vomiting. A CT scan found an abnormality in her intestine, which turned out to be cancer. She underwent surgery to remove one foot of her colon followed by chemotherapy.

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the third most common cancer in both men and women in the United States and the United Kingdom. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 104,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year in the U.S.

The Academy Award nominated actress has been given the all clear, but she says the experience has made her reevaluate her work load. She also wants to focus on encouraging others to get screened.

“Your bowel is part of your digestive system. It’s just what digests your food and I think you just have to remember that,” Walters said. “And it’s just, you’ve got to go and get things checked. Doctors are used to bottoms; they’ve got one themselves, hopefully.”

Doctors recommend individuals of average risk begin colon cancer screening at age 50.

Dr. Julian Sanchez, MD
Dr. Julian Sanchez, MD Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology

"If you get your colonoscopies on time — you take a polyp out before it has the chance to become a cancer — you never get cancer at all. Cancers that are caught in very early stage have excellent survival rates; we are talking 80% survival rates or more,” said Dr. Julian Sanchez, a colorectal surgeon at Moffitt Cancer Center

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