Caroline Aherne On Her 'Special' Cancer Battle
Royle Family creator Caroline Aherne has joked she must be "special" to have had cancer three times.
The TV writer and actress is undergoing treatment for lung cancer related to a genetic form of the disease.
Speaking at a gathering of 170 cancer patients, medics and carers in Manchester, she described how she and her brother had been born with cancer of the retina.
"My mum told us only special people get cancer," she said.
"I must be very special because I have had it in my lungs and bladder as well."
Aherne, who currently narrates Gogglebox, described her Macmillan cancer nurse, Julie Watts, as "like an angel."
She said: "When you hear them telling you you have cancer, it's true that you really don't take it in properly, you just don't think of the questions and then when you come out, because she's been in there with you, she answers all your questions that you haven't been able to ask at the time or haven't thought of.
"This is the best bit ... they completely understand what you are going through and what your family are going through."
Aherne shared a joke from the time of her chemotherapy treatment at the Cecilia Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, involving Royle Family co-star Ricky Tomlinson, who played her on-screen father.
Aherne said: "The cleaner came in one day, she went, 'Oh, I knew you were here, they told me you were here, oh that's great, I love the Royle Family but I would've much preferred it to be Ricky in that bed!'
"She was wishing lung cancer on Ricky Tomlinson!"
At the end of her speech,†Aherne smiled, put her hands to her hair and joked: "My wig stayed on!"
The 50-year-old, whose comedy creations have also included her spoof chat host Mrs Merton, revealed last month she was battling lung disease.
Research by cancer charity Macmillan put Manchester, her home city, bottom out of 150 areas in England for premature deaths from cancer.
The city is also bottom of the league table for strokes, heart and lung disease.
Survival rates are 25% lower than average and the number of people getting lung cancer is a third higher in the city than in the rest of England.
A new £3.4m scheme, called the Macmillan Cancer Improvement Partnership (MCIP), aims to bring together all cancer care providers in the city to improve the experience of everybody affected by the disease.