LONDON (Reuters) – Julie Walters, one of Britain’s most famous actresses, said she had surgery to remove 30 cm (12 inches) of her colon and taken a course of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.

Walters, who rose to prominence for her portrayal of a mature student learning beside an alcoholic professor played by Michael Caine in the 1983 film Educating Rita, said she was now “really well”.

She described the shock at being told by a doctor that she had cancer.

“He said: ‘Well I,’m worried it is cancer,'” Walters, 69, told the BBC. “The impact: “Shock. First of shock.”

“I’ve just had a scan, and I know that [I’m] clear,” she said.

The illness meant she had to be cut from certain scenes in the soon-to-be-released film The Secret Garden, in which she stars alongside Colin Firth, the BBC said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)