BBC presenter and breast cancer survivor Lauren Mahon has spoken candidly about dating with the disease, revealing her late co-host Rachael Bland left instructions to the team to ‘make sure she gets a fella’ before she died in 2018.
Instagram star Lauren Mahon, 35, from London, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2016, aged 31, and is a presenter on BBC Radio 5’s You, Me & The Big C podcast.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Lauren said Rachael left instructions for the team, revealing: ‘She said to everyone: “Make sure Lauren gets a fella, she has been single long enough and she deserves to be loved.”‘
Lauren said that dating since her diagnosis hasn’t been straightforward, because she is seeking a partner who is willing to go through IVF treatment with her by using eggs she froze before chemotherapy, revealing: ‘It’s going to be a little bit more complex [for me to have a baby], so it’s just finding someone who’s willing to go through that. If my cancer diagnosis is too much to handle, you can f*** off.’
BBC presenter and breast cancer survivor Lauren Mahon, 35, from London, has spoken candidly about dating with the disease, revealing her late co-host Rachael Bland left instructions to the team to ‘make sure she gets a fella’ before she died in 2018
In May 2016 she discovered a mass in her breast but ignored it for a few weeks in the hope that it would go away.
While at Glastonbury festival she asked her friend to touch it and they said she should go to the doctors to have it looked over.
The doctors discovered she had a 1inch (2.8cm) long tumour and stage three cancer and they advised she begin treatment straight away to fight it.
The former social media manager said she was shocked by the diagnosis, believing the disease normally only affected people in their 60s or people with ‘normal boobs’ – not people who are flat-chested ‘like her’.
Lauren Mahon (centre) pictured with co-hosts of BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C Deborah James (left) and the late Rachael Bland (right) who passed away in 2018 from breast cancer
As well as having to process the fact she had cancer, doctors also told her the nine months worth of treatment would leave her infertile.
After the grueling procedures, which included several rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and an operation, she was given the all-clear in May 2017.
Off the back of her experiences, she set up a social media campaign using the hashtag #GirlsvsCancer which encouraged other women to share their stories.
As it grew in popularity, the BBC approached her in 2018 to see if she would be interested in being a co-host on the You, Me and the Big C podast, where she met Rachael Bland, who had breast cancer, and ‘Bowel babe’ Deborah James, who had bowel cancer.
In May 2016 Lauren discovered a mass in her breast but ignored it for a few weeks in the hope that it would go away, but it didn’t (pictured during her gruelling treatment which lasted nine months)
While recording the podcast Bland’s health deteriorated rapidly and she died after six months of it launching – at just 40 years old.
Eight most common signs of breast cancer
• A change in size or shape
• A lump or area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast
• A change in skin texture such as puckering or dimpling (like the skin of an orange)
• A redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
• Your nipple has become pulled in or looks different, for example changed its position or shape
• Liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing
• Pain in your breast or your armpit that’s there all or almost all of the time
• A swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
She left behind her young son Freddie, now five, and husband Steve, 40, who has since found love with NHS worker Amy. The pair met late last year at a cancer conference in Manchester.
Speaking about her friend’s death, Lauren said she looked her ‘worst fear of dying in the face’ and admitted she thought her fellow presenter had months to live, rather than just weeks.
Before her death, Rachael gave instructions for the people she was leaving behind, including her podcast team.
She said Lauren had been single ‘long enough’ and that she ‘deserves to be loved’, encouraging them to ‘make sure she finds a fella’.
Before she had cancer, Lauren admitted she was having ‘a lot of sex’ and partied the same as most people in their 30s.
But dating since her diagnosis hasn’t always been as easy for Lauren.
Faced with the possibility of becoming infertile, she was forced to freeze her eggs and now has to go through IVF if she wants to have a baby.
Now she hopes to find a man who is willing to go through the often upsetting process in order to have children with her.
The BBC presenter went on to recall menopause as a gruelling experience with hot flashes, depression, mood swings, exhaustion and brain fog.
She said the worst thing was her libido disappeared, leaving her ‘so mortified’ and ‘depressed about it all.’
Doctors ended up recommending that she come off some of the hormone-surpressing drugs she was taking, which Lauren said has left her ‘terrified’ of her cancer returning.
She has now made it her mission to not only speak out about her experiences with cancer but also to normalise going through early menopause.
Lauren said that Rachael’s death had stunned her, thinking that the BBC presenter would have months rather than just weeks to live (pictured, Rachael’s husband Steve Bland has appeared on Mahon’s podcast with his son Freddie to talk about the book Rachel had written in Freddie’s honour)