Singer songwriter Veronica Mehta has spoken of her battle with cancer and her inspirational journey back into music.

The London-born R&B/bhangra artist, revealed to fans she had breast cancer as part of Cancer Research UK’s Stand Up to Cancer campaign.

Up until 2018, she had kept her diagnosis private but later spoke out about her cancer experience before withdrawing from public life to concentrate on raising her three children.

Seven years after the diagnosis, she is returning with a new single which catalogues her cancer journey and delivers the message there is 'life after cancer'.

Veronica is also backing Cancer Research UK’s Manifesto.

Ahead of the next general election, the charity has published an ambitious cancer plan, which if adopted, would help avoid 20,000 cancer deaths a year across the UK by 2040.

In London, this could mean an estimated 1,600 fewer people losing their lives to the disease each year.

Veronica, 49, who lives in Uxbridge with husband Bobby and children Mya, 13, Esha, 11 and Veer, seven, said: “I think originally I felt overwhelmed by everything that had happened, physically, mentally and emotionally, and it has taken seven years to get myself back together.

“I knew I wanted to do something to turn that negative into a positive.

"Music has always been my first love so I went back into the studio with my producer Rishi Rich, and what came flooding out in a rush of emotions was a song, 'Gone'."

Gone, and the AI video that accompanies it, tracks her cancer journey from her home life in London at the height of her career, to the cancer diagnosis.

It follows her to iconic places in Mumbai – Bollywood and a special temple - and to New York, part of a huge US tour she did.

Veronica said: “Those shadows are full of fear but they also push me to fight." 

She had to have further surgery last September and still has bouts of low energy and a ‘foggy’ mind.

“It’s hard because cancer strips you of so much positive energy,”

“There are still days when I struggle but when I look back, I try to be grateful – it’s part of my reality and acceptance and because of the treatment I’ve had, I do feel like I have been given a second chance at life.”

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Veronica, who sings in English, Hindi and Punjabi, has written songs for Bollywood movies as well as having her own hits.

Before her diagnosis in 2016, she was awaiting the birth of her third child.

However, just weeks away from giving birth, she was told she had grade three breast cancer, which tends to grow and spread more quickly than lower grade cancers.

“I was devastated,” she said.

“I was 35 weeks pregnant. All I could think about was my children, including the one I was about to give birth to. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, or what would happen to them."

Following her cancer treatment, she decided it was time to speak out about the disease which affects one in two of us.

Veronica shared the news with her closest family, including gently explaining to her daughters, Mya and Esha, then six and four, that she was going to get very ill, one of the hardest things she has ever had to do.

“This wasn’t because of the ‘stigma’ people talk about within the Asian community. But because of my public profile. I didn’t want it to get out the wrong way and I also needed time to deal with the situation myself.”

Veronica was advised to have a Caesarian section and begin treatment immediately. Surgery revealed the cancer had spread and she needed a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy.

“I didn’t want chemo but I had to have it. I begged to have some time to bond with my son, and thankfully I had some time to breastfeed him before the treatment began.

“But chemotherapy was definitely a low point in my life. I was like the living dead. My mum and my sister moved in to help. I took care of Veer but I was like a zombie half the time."

Veronica has remained clear of cancer and finished her hormone therapy treatment, including Herceptin.

Cancer Research UK played a leading role in underpinning research in Herceptin and helped with clinical trials which showed Herceptin can improve survival for women with a certain type of breast cancer.

Cancer Research UK’s plan - 'Longer, better lives: a Manifesto for Cancer Research and Care' - outlines five key missions to speed up progress in preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.

Veronica said: “It’s only thanks to research that I’m still here today and I will be forever grateful for that.

“But there are many people going through treatment right now and many, many more who will be diagnosed in the future who will need and benefit from research breakthroughs.

"That’s why we all need to support the Manifesto by signing the open letter to party leaders at “.

Cancer Research UK spokesperson for London, Lynn Daly, said: “We've made huge progress in beating cancer over the last 50 years - but it remains the defining health issue of our time. Cases are rising and we estimate that half a million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year by 2040.

"People continue to face unacceptable delays to diagnosis and treatment and the UK lags behind comparable countries when it comes to cancer survival.

“The public expect and deserve action. We calculate that the recommendations made within our Manifesto for Cancer Research and Care, will reduce cancer mortality by 15% by 2040 - helping avoid 20,000 cancer deaths in the UK every year.

"But only if we act now. We need people to support the manifesto and sign our open letter to party leaders. The prize is a legacy of life-saving cancer research and care that will benefit the UK for decades to come.”