Soap Star Sally Whittaker Credits Role With Saving Her Life

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Star of U.K. soap opera "Coronation Street" Sally Whittaker told how she beat breast cancer thanks to her role in the drama, The Sun reported Monday.

She started researching the disease because her character, Sally Webster, was stricken by it -- and found a lump in her breast.

Whittaker, 47, said, "As a result of the early diagnosis, my treatment has been successful and I am able to return to work next month. This storyline could very well have saved my life."

The mom-of-three told Hello! magazine that she found the lump in late October, and began a six-month course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Whittaker kept her condition a secret from cast members until blurting it out to Michael Le Vell, who plays on-screen husband Kevin. She filmed a block of scenes so she could appear on screen for a while.

Then she took a break as the treatment took effect, with viewers being told the character of Sally Webster went to her sister's home to recuperate.

She starts filming again in June, with her return due to air in the U.K. July.