Beloved British actress Lynda Bellingham was hit hard by the recent death of her cancer-stricken pal Bernie Nolan, because she was facing the first stage of her own battle with the disease.

Earlier this month (Jul13) the 65 year old revealed she was undergoing treatment for cancer, and news of her friend and former co-star's death on 4 July made the fight all the more poignant.

In a piece for Britain's Yours magazine, she writes, "When you hear the word cancer applied to yourself, you do initially think it's a death sentence - even though in my case it certainly isn't.

"And had I needed any reminder of how serious it can be, I woke up to face my first bout of chemotherapy discovering poor Bernie Nolan had died. I just felt so, so, sad, having worked with Bernie on (British Tv drama) The Bill and (stage show) Calendar Girls.

"I admired her enormously for her bravery, honesty, and for being such a fantastic performer. A great role model for us all."

Bellingham, who has postponed her U.K. appearances in Kay Mellor's play A Passionate Woman to receive treatment, also heaps praise on the medical staff treating her, adding, "I know I am fantastically lucky to have a very quick diagnosis and to benefit from all the phenomenal cancer research going on. I am also surrounded by such a fantastic oncology team. I haven't met one nurse yet who is anything less than 100 per cent positive and it does rub off."

Nolan died after a long battle with breast cancer.