Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has thanked viewers for alerting her to a lump on her neck as she was about to promote the show’s new series. The 66-year-old, who is famed for being one of Britain’s most prolific ballroom and Latin American dancers, discovered the growth while appearing on ITV’s This Morning yesterday morning.
I had no idea what it could be, she said. I thought I might have a cyst or an abscess but then I remembered that years ago I was told there were some lumps in my neck.
I’m going to go back to the doctor. I have had blood tests, they have come back fine so I am being referred again.
Thank you for everyone’s concern but it was really nothing much at all.
The former Strictly Come Dancing pro dancer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 after discovering a lump whilst breastfeeding her daughter, now 16. She had a lumpectomy and has been given the all clear since.
She said: I’m a good example that you can survive breast cancer. You have to be positive in this world or you will not get anywhere. I also feel that my dancing career may have contributed to my fending off the illness, because it kept me fit and healthy.
I think I’ve been pretty lucky, I’ve had a wonderful life, she added.
As well as the cancer scare in 2007 Shirley hit headlines last year when her fiancé of 13 years shot himself in their garden after their relationship broke down.
Shirley recently returned to Strictly, this time as head judge.
Talking about replacing Arlene Phillips she said I would never have imagined it but it’s been great fun. It’s very different, especially the scoring. On Strictly Come Dancing you are used to your own opinion but now there are three others that you have to take into consideration. I love the show, it’s great to be part of, she said.
The new series kicks off this weekend on BBC One at 6:50pm.
When asked about her fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood’s sniping Shirley responded diplomatically by saying he will have to get used to me being there over the next few years.
She said: I think Craig is just trying to get used to the idea that he’s no long the head judge and must be having his funny way of dealing with it. With all due respect, when you’re in this business, showbusiness, you have got to expect people to talk about you. You’ve got to take it on the chin.
The new series begins with a Strictly Come Dancing special of The Great British Bake-Off at 7pm, hosted by Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the contestants will be like this time round said Shirley. I think it’s going to be really exciting because they are Strictly Come Dancing dance champions; hopefully they’ll be really good.
She added: Whatever happens this year is going to go down in history because it’s my first time on the panel. I’ve had a wonderful experience with Strictly and now I’m looking forward to my new role on Bake Off.