BBC’s ‘EastEnders’ Star Announces Cancer Diagnosis, Leukemia Survivor Embarks on Nation-Wide Bike Ride to Diversify Transplantation Donors and More


From “EastEnders” star Samantha Womack announcing her breast cancer diagnosis in a tribute to Olivia Newton-John to a famous fashion designer’s death from liver cancer, here’s what’s happening in the oncology space this week.

Fashion designer Issey Miyake died of cancer.

Issey Miyake, a Japanese fashion designer who designed the black turtlenecks worn by Apple’s former CEO, Steve Jobs, died of liver cancer.

The designer, who was 84 years old at the time of his death, created designs that were heralded as pieces of art, and are currently on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art and London’s Victoria and Alberta Museum. In 2005, he was awarded the Praemium Imperiale award for the arts by the Japan Arts Association. In 2006, he became the first fashion designer to be awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy.

“EastEnders” actress Samantha Womack revealed that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Samantha Womack, the actress who is known for her role of Ronnie in the British soap opera, “EastEnders”, revealed that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The 49-year-old announced her diagnosis in a social media post about Olivia Newton-John, who died from metastatic breast cancer earlier this week.

“I now start my own battle with this disease and am left feeling deeply moved,” Womack wrote in the post, which features a photo of herself alongside her daughter, Chloe, and Newton-John.

Breast cancer is not the only commonality between Womack and Newton-John. Both women played the role of Sandy in the hit musical “Grease”: Newton-John in the hit 1978 movie, and Womack in the stage production of the show in London’s West End Theatre District.

A leukemia survivor will bike across the country to encourage people of color to register as bone marrow and stem cell donors.

Bone marrow transplantation could be a life-saving procedure for patients with blood cancer, though the marrow must match the recipient’s body to increase chances of a successful procedure, and decrease the chances of severe complications. When it comes to finding a match, race and ethnicity play a role.

When Ahamadu Sirleaf, a Liberia native, was diagnosed with leukemia, clinicians could not find a match for him in the national registry. Instead, his younger brother from Liberia was found to be a match, and donated his bone marrow.

Now, the survivor is biking across the country to raise awareness and encourage people of color to become bone marrow and stem cell donors.

"We have to get African Americans to sign up to be donors, whatever the disparity, whatever is causing the disparity, we need to take down that barrier," Sirleaf said to ABC7.

Actor Brennan Elliott said his wife, Cami, with stage 4 cancer is a “warrior.”

Brennan Elliott, who is known for various roles in Lifetime and Hallmark Channel shows, recently spoke out about his wife, Cami’s, experiences with stage 4 metastatic gastric cancer.

"She's hanging in there. She finished her last eighth round of chemo. Well, she's done 16 over the last two or three years," Elliott said to PEOPLE. "Yeah, she's a warrior."

Elliott announced Cami’s diagnosis in an Instagram post this April, stating that she was taking “one of the most aggressive types of chemotherapy and immunotherapy.”

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