Comedienne Jennifer Saunders has launched a controversial attack on cancer survivors whom she accuses of  ‘wearing the disease like a badge’.

The 55-year-old Ab Fab star was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and given the all-clear in 2010 – keeping her illness and treatment a secret until she was seen at a party without her wig.

However speaking to the Times magazine she hit out at those who criticised her for saying she was ‘free’ of cancer following her treatment.

“People were writing ‘how dare you say that! You’re never free of cancer’,” she said.

“And I thought, ‘No, actually I am free of cancer now.'”

She also accused some people of wearing the disease ‘for ever’, saying: “Because it is the job you don’t have to work for.

“You suddenly get so much attention, and if you’re not used to that, I bet it can sway you a little bit.

“I’m used to it,” she added. “My job gives me the attention I would otherwise crave.

“They must be so p****d off when their hair grows back. And you think, ‘Oh, come on, cancer is so common now’.”

Jennifer, who underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy on several malignant lumps, also revealed that she had never worried about dying from cancer “because they told me I wasn’t going to”.

Her husband, comedian Ade Edmondson, has also spoken out about the difficulties cancer sufferers face – saying their fight should not be described as a “battle”.

It’s not a great three-part TV drama full of moments, it’s a long grind, like a slow car crash that will last five years and then, hopefully, we’ll get out,’ he said.