Patsy Kensit is in full-blown menopause due to a hysterectomy performed this year.

The 45-year-old actress has already had a large ovarian cyst removed in a previous operation and says she felt more scared when two more cysts were discovered this year, after her mother, Margaret, died from breast cancer at the same young age.

Kensit has been having mammograms and ultrasounds annually for more than 20 years.

"I'd had pneumonia, then there were these tumours and there was this sense of urgency," she recalls, her words tumbling out almost incoherently.

Her autobiography, Absolute Beginner, charts her life growing up on a London council estate as the daughter of a fraudster who had associations the notorious Kray twins.

To make matters worse, her mother was afflicted by health problems throughout Patsy's early life.

I changed a lot after my mum died - her death broke me and I was on a quest to find someone to love me the way she ha"

When Kensit’s first cyst was discovered, there was a point when she thought she was going to die, she reveals.

"I'd been sent for an MRI and everyone had gone. All you're left with is a camomile tea, a ginger biscuit and your thoughts,” she says.

"The mind is a very powerful thing and I've seen it with my mum. My mum was told, 'You are going to die in six months', and six years later she was still there.

"I'd waited my whole life for the inevitable to happen. Every happy time was compromised with the reality that she was sick. I never saw her cry, she never got depressed. She was incredible."

"I'm not scared of dying. I'm terrified of being sick. I've been very unwell.

"I like to be strong and well and this whole thing happened two months ago and I haven't bounced back like I normally do. It's a shock when your body gets a kicking. I'm 45 now and it takes time. It's been very scary."

She's seeing a hormone specialist to ease the symptoms of the menopause, which are as mental as physical.

"I've been very emotional. No-one talks about hysterectomies. The word is Dickensian. I'm 45 and I go to the supermarket and forget why I'm in there. I come out with a cabbage and a pair of tights! I'm in the menopause."

"I'd been sent for an MRI and everyone had gone. All you're left with is a camomile tea, a ginger biscuit and your thoughts."

Her mother’s young death, she says, set the four-times-married Kensit on a search for a partner who would give her as much love as her mother had.

"I changed a lot after my mum died - her death broke me and I was on a quest to find someone to love me the way she had."

Today, she remains close to second husband and father of her son James, Jim Kerr, saying: "He's a wonderful father and a great friend."

Absolute Beginner by Patsy Kensit is published by Sidgwick & Jackson, priced £20. Available now (with pictures)