Gloria Grahame health: A scandal dimmed the light of the Hollywood star – then cancer came

Liz Hurley says two friends found breast cancer after her campaign

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Gloria Hallward starred in classics such as The Big Heat and The Greatest Show on Earth; and by 1960, she had earned a star on the Walk of Fame. Her fame, however, was eclipsed by her love for Anthony “Tony” Ray. The Hollywood beauty had already experienced a failed marriage to Stanley Clements, a fellow actor, when she married Nicholas Ray in 1948 – her future lover’s father. First meeting Tony as a boy, during her four-year marriage to Nicholas, Gloria moved on to wed Cy Howard, which only lasted three years.

When Gloria was 37 years old, in 1960, she married Nicholas’s son, Tony, who was 23 at the time.

Outraged, Nicholas alleged that he had caught Gloria in bed with his son when he was a mere boy of 13.

When the scandal hit the headlines, work for Gloria dried up, and she faded in the background until her death in 1981 from breast cancer.

While her marriage to Tony lasted for 14 years, ending in 1974, her battle with breast cancer was much shorter.

First diagnosed in 1974, Gloria underwent radiation therapy, changed her diet, and stopped smoking and drinking, which put her cancer into remission.

Yet, the deadly disease returned in 1980, taking Gloria’s life away from her when she was only 57 years old.

Breast cancer

As with any type of cancer, the sooner a tumour is detected and treated, the better the chances of recovery.

Leading charity Breast Cancer Now cautioned that one in seven women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

The symptoms of breast cancer:

  • A lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit
  • A change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
  • A change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
  • A nipple change, for example it has become pulled in (inverted)
  • Rash or crusting around the nipple
  • Unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple
  • Changes in size or shape of the breast.

Women (and men) are encouraged to touch their breasts on a regular basis in order to know what is normal for you.

  • Touch your breasts: can you feel anything new or unusual?
  • Look for changes: does anything look different to you?
  • Check any new or unusual changes with a GP.

What happens at the doctor’s office?

If your appointment is in person, your GP will examine your breasts.

“If your GP is male and you do not feel comfortable going to see him, ask if there’s a female doctor or practice nurse available,” Breast Cancer Now advised.

“You can also ask for a female nurse or member of staff to be present during your examination.”

A referral to a breast clinic does not imply that you have breast cancer, the charity assured.

Instead, further assessment is needed to find out what could be going on, if anything at all.

Breast screenings

A breast X-ray is known as a mammogram; women between the ages of 50 to 71 in the UK are invited for breast screening every three years.

Women over the age of 71 are still able to request screenings from their local screening unit, although this is currently not an option in Scotland.

If you have just turned 50, you may not have your first invite for a mammogram until you are 53 years old.

No matter your age, even if you’re much younger than 50, do speak to a GP if you are experiencing symptoms of breast cancer.

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