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Brave BBC presenter tells of 'totally do-able' breast cancer operation

By Dominic Harris

Published 13/10/2015

Brave BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire holds up cards from her hospital bed in an image from the video diary she has made to help other women facing breast cancer
Brave BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire holds up cards from her hospital bed in an image from the video diary she has made to help other women facing breast cancer

Journalist Victoria Derbyshire has spoken openly about having a mastectomy following a diagnosis of breast cancer, in an effort to reassure women that having treatment for the condition is "do-able".

The presenter (47), discovered she had cancer in July, announcing it in August on Twitter and saying she would have a mastectomy "in a few weeks".

Derbyshire made a video diary during her treatment, being broadcast on her BBC show yesterday.

An image from the film shows her in a hospital bed holding a sign saying: "Hi. This morning I had breast cancer."

A second picture shows her smiling brightly with another board which reads: "This evening I don't!"

Derbyshire, a former presenter on Newsnight and BBC Radio 5 Live, underwent reconstructive surgery following her operation and on Friday praised her surgeon as "awesome, kind, clever, very, very good at his job".

And she said she made her diary to help other women in a similar position to her.

In the footage, Derbyshire says: "The reason I wanted to talk about what has happened to me is that I am a pretty open person. But also because more than one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer. And here's the thing: having cancer is manageable. Having a mastectomy is totally do-able. I didn't know that until I got cancer. And that's what I want to tell people."

Derbyshire will be back at work full-time from October 20, but will have time off for further treatment.

The diary will be shown during The Victoria Derbyshire Show from 9.15am on BBC 2.

In the video, Derbyshire revealed she had undergone a mastectomy and reconstruction, as well as having lymph nodes on her right hand side removed.

"When I woke up (from surgery) I did cry because it was just the relief, the malignant tumour in my right breast is gone, and two or three lymph nodes are gone," she explained.

The video diary was shown the day after the operation, with Derbyshire saying: "I feel good and a bit tired but that's it."

It then switches to five days later and her sitting in a park with her dog.

She shows viewers the drains she's carrying around with her and says: "I am restricted in my movement, I can't use my right hand side.

"In a couple of weeks I'll get the results from all the tissue that's been analysed and taken out of me..."

Viewers flooded social media praising her for her bravery.

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