Gerry Adams’ wife has revealed how she remains “positive” despite battling cancer and has urged other sufferers not to lose hope.
Colette Adams was speaking 24 hours after it emerged she had been diagnosed with the disease a month ago.
The Sinn Fein president made the personal disclosure on Tuesday night after he had been reselected to contest the West Belfast seat in the Westminster elections.
Mrs Adams said while the news of her illness came as “a great shock”, she was told by her doctor and consultant that it was treatable.
She underwent major surgery last week.
“Afterwards I was told by the consultant that he believed the operation to have been a success, although more tests will follow,” she said.
The republican leader’s wife said the period was a difficult experience both for her and those close to her and described cancer as “a frightening disease”.
“To be told you have it is a terrifying and emotional experience,” she said.
“It is impossible to describe. However, I am very positive and determined to get well again.”
Mrs Adams also highlighted the need for catching the disease at an early stage.
“The crucial lesson from my experience is the importance of early detection. No matter what age you are there is an absolute need for men and women who have any concerns whatever about their health to seek early medical advice.
“Don’t be embarrassed or concerned about speaking to your doctor. He or she is your friend, speak to them without delay.
“Cancer is treatable and early detection can ensure a successful outcome.”
Mrs Adams also thanked her doctors, medical staff and those who had supported her during the recent weeks.
“The hospital staff was conscientious, kind and very positive throughout my time there. I want to thank all of them for their compassion and care.
“It was my doctor’s attention to my concerns that ensured the early detection of the cancer and the treatment I have just received,” she said.
“My family and friends who were aware of my condition were hugely supportive and I want to thank them for all the love and support they gave me.”
The health scare came as Mr Adams is under wider pressure over his handling of allegations of child abuse made against his brother Liam.
The Sinn Fein leader has called on Liam Adams to hand himself in to police to face allegations he sexually abused his daughter. The Sinn Fein president has also faced questions about what he did to prevent his brother from working in politics.
The Adams family has also been rocked by revelations that his own father Gerry Snr was an abuser, something which the Sinn Fein leader said he is still coming to terms with.