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Holly Willoughby and Julia Bradbury break down in tears over TV star’s breast cancer battle

Holly Willoughby and Julia Bradbury were moved to tears on Thursday’s episode of This Morning as they discussed Julia telling her children about her breast cancer.

The TV presenter, 51, announced that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2021, and underwent a double mastectomy a month later and is now appearing in the documentary Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer And Me. 

The Countryfile star appeared on Thursday’s episode of the ITV show and told how difficult it was to tell her children Zephyr, 10, and twins Zena and Xanthe, seven, about her cancer battle, with one asking her if the disease is ‘contagious’.

Emotional: Holly Willoughby and Julia Bradbury were moved to tears on Thursday’s episode of This Morning as they discussed Julia telling her children about her breast cancer

She said: ‘Telling your children you have cancer is the hardest thing you will ever have to do in your life you have to be realistic but protect them and I don’t think any parent knows what to do 

‘One of my children said, “Can I still hug you?” and the other said, “Is it contagious?” I never thought about either of those two things. 

‘You just don’t know what’s going through their mind. You do your best, but it’s a very difficult thing to navigate.’

A clip from the documentary of Julia speaking about her breasts and the journey she’s been on with them to her children played out and a tearful Holly said: ‘That got me.’

Health: The TV presenter, 51, announced that she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2021, and underwent a double mastectomy a month later and is now appearing in the documentary Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer And Me

Health: The TV presenter, 51, announced that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2021, and underwent a double mastectomy a month later and is now appearing in the documentary Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer And Me

Julia added her kids have been “amazing”. She said, “They’ve made friends with my new boob! They say, ‘Mummy, it doesn’t feel the same’ and I say, ‘No it doesn’t, but I’m here and that’s what it’s done.”

Julia also explained she didn’t tell her mum the diagnosis until she knew herself what the plans were for treatment, because she knew she would worry so much.

She said: ‘My mum is a Greek-living. gorgeous, warm parent who tries to protect us to this day.

‘I have to phone her when I get somewhere I knew if I told her she would want to know what was happening next she would want to move in with me, I knew it would be a huge worry for her at that stage.’ 

Julia encourages women to get themselves checked if they find a lump or notice a change in their body.

Family: The Countryfile star appeared on Thursday's episode of the ITV show and told how difficult it was to tell her children Zephyr, 10, and twins Zena and Xanthe, seven, about her cancer battle, with one asking her if the disease is 'contagious'

Family: The Countryfile star appeared on Thursday’s episode of the ITV show and told how difficult it was to tell her children Zephyr, 10, and twins Zena and Xanthe, seven, about her cancer battle, with one asking her if the disease is ‘contagious’

She said: ‘I’ve been honest about the discovery of my lump from the very beginning because I’ve always been a campaigner for cancer. 

‘My mother had cancer, my father had cancer, so I’ve been an ambassador for several cancer charities throughout my career and ironically I am an ambassador for ovarian cancer in the UK.’

She added: ‘But when I did discover the lump, I was very open about having mammograms and encouraging women to go to the doctor if you find something – trust your instincts and I even posted a picture on my social media accounts of me having a mammogram. It was just a natural progression from that.

‘I even posted a picture of me having my mammogram and it was just a natural progression for that, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

‘I know that by being open for this people know I am there with them and it has broken down some stigma by talking about it.’

Julia admitted she often thinks about ‘five-year terms’ since her diagnosis.

She said: ‘It’s completely unbelievable until you’re in that situation you don’t know how you’re going to react. You immediately think about death…there are very few people who live through a cancer diagnosis and never think about it again.

‘You think about five-year terms, when you talk about survival rates that’s what you’re talking about…what about living with the reality of cancer which is you will never be able to forget it.

It comes after Julia filmed herself hugging a tree and posted the ‘beautiful’ evidence from a recent Mauritius getaway to Instagram on Wednesday, amid her battle with breast cancer.

The presenter embraced a ‘special’ 100-year-old Ebony while gushing about its ‘finely mirrored texture’ and which makes for a ‘special landscape’.

Going make-up free, she tied her brown tresses into a tousled ponytail and wore a black top as she addressed her fans on the social media network.

Inspired: Julia Bradbury filmed herself hugging a tree and posted the 'beautiful' evidence from a recent Mauritius getaway to Instagram on Wednesday, amid her battle with breast cancer

Inspired: Julia Bradbury filmed herself hugging a tree and posted the ‘beautiful’ evidence from a recent Mauritius getaway to Instagram on Wednesday, amid her battle with breast cancer

She said: ‘So this is a famous black Ebony tree and this one is about 100 years old, very very special. Of course I’m gonna give it a hug. Yes, tree love.’

In her caption, the Countryfile host penned: ‘Have you hugged a tree this week?!

‘Throw back to our hols ..trekking through the beautiful @belombrenaturereserve in #mauritius. I couldn’t pass by this beautiful black ebony tree without having a moment.

‘Feel so grateful to have walked through such a special landscape. Ebony wood is so dense it sinks in water.

In her element: The TV presenter, 51, embraced a 'special' 100-year-old Ebony while gushing about its 'finely mirrored texture' and which makes for a 'special landscape'

In her element: The TV presenter, 51, embraced a ‘special’ 100-year-old Ebony while gushing about its ‘finely mirrored texture’ and which makes for a ‘special landscape’

Natural beauty: Going make-up free, she tied her brown tresses into a tousled ponytail and wore a black top as she addressed her fans on the social media network

Enthusiastic: She said: 'So this is a famous black Ebony tree and this one is about 100 years old, very very special. Of course I'm gonna give it a hug. Yes, tree love'

Natural beauty: Going make-up free, she tied her brown tresses into a tousled ponytail and wore a black top as she addressed her fans on the social media network

Your turn: In her caption, the Countryfile host penned: 'Have you hugged a tree this week?!'

Your turn: In her caption, the Countryfile host penned: ‘Have you hugged a tree this week?!’

‘It’s finely mirrored texture when it’s polished, makes it a prized ornamental wood, but it couldn’t look any more beautiful than growing in the soil.

‘#trees #lovetrees #hugatree #nature #flora #fauna #mauritius #naturereserve #hiking #landscapes #preservation.’

Julia recently said she was unsure whether she would ever travel or wear a bikini again following her breast cancer diagnosis.

The TV personality underwent a mastectomy in October during which her breast plus two lymph glands were removed before reconstruction took place.

Honest: Julia recently said she was unsure whether she would ever travel or wear a bikini again following her breast cancer diagnosis

Honest: Julia recently said she was unsure whether she would ever travel or wear a bikini again following her breast cancer diagnosis

She spoke to Hello! magazine from Mauritius where she was on holiday with her partner Gerry and their children.,

She said: ‘I have this feeling of embracing everything now, grabbing everything that life has to offer with open arms.

‘I wasn’t sure that I would ever travel again – and certainly wasn’t sure whether I’d wear a bikini ever again.’

Julia added she had always appreciated the ‘healing power of nature’ and did so even more now.

Back in a bikini! On Friday, Julia wore a bikini for the first time since undergoing a double mastectomy in October, as she holidayed in Mauritius

Back in a bikini! On Friday, Julia wore a bikini for the first time since undergoing a double mastectomy in October, as she holidayed in Mauritius

‘I’m still at the acute end of coming through my diagnosis and coming to terms with everything, so life is very heightened,’ she said.

‘The skies are a deeper shade of blue, the patterns of nature are more striking than usual. I’m taking it all in.’

The broadcaster said she was using her illness as an opportunity to ‘reset’ her emotional and physical health and now practises meditation and gratitude every day, sleeps at least eight hours each night and has cut out almost all alcohol.

Grateful: The TV personality wrote alongside the photograph, that she feels 'fortunate' to have had immediate breast reconstruction

Grateful: The TV personality wrote alongside the photograph, that she feels ‘fortunate’ to have had immediate breast reconstruction

She added: ‘It will be a long time before you find me dancing on tables again – and I love dancing on tables.’

Julia also told how she had promised at the beginning of the holiday to agree to any of her children’s requests, from swimming to trekking or eating ice cream but only one a day.

She added: ‘They are this size for such a short time: you blink and they’re gone.

Battle: The Countryfile presenter announced that she been diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2021 and underwent a double mastectomy a month later

Battle: The Countryfile presenter announced that she been diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2021 and underwent a double mastectomy a month later

‘I want to enjoy every one of those moments and they’re even more magnified and precious now.’  

It comes after Julia wore a bikini for the first time since undergoing the procedure, as she holidayed in Mauritius, and admitted she feels ‘fortunate’ to have had immediate breast reconstruction.

The TV personality took to Instagram where she shared a gorgeous shot of herself in a blue bikini and beach cover-up in matching print, while relaxing in the sunshine.

Julia penned: ‘I had no idea what life after a #mastectomy would be like. I feel incredibly grateful that some things have gone my way during my #breastcancer diagnosis. Each of our stories is different…

‘I was fortunate to be able to have immediate recon after my breast was removed containing a 6cm tumour.  

‘Nothing prepares you for the shock & impact…& yet but here I am in a bikini again. Didn’t think this would happen.

‘Wearing wraps helps too. Of course it’s @melissaodabash!! Thanks @gaylerinkoff for finding me new. #gratitude #breastcancer #recovery #bikini #mauritius.’  

Candid: Julia recently revealed that the risk of her cancer is returning is higher than average and detailed her experience learning to love her body after a mastectomy

Candid: Julia recently revealed that the risk of her cancer is returning is higher than average and detailed her experience learning to love her body after a mastectomy

Her holiday snap comes after Julia revealed that the risk of her cancer is returning is higher than average and detailed her experience learning to love her body after a mastectomy in a candid chat.

Six months after undergoing her surgery, the presenter is now having to come to terms with the knowledge that she does not yet have the ‘all clear’ from doctors.

Deeper dive: Read the full interview in Hello! magazine, out now

Deeper dive: Read the full interview in Hello! magazine, out now

Julia revealed to You magazine that she has ‘micro-invasions’ – tiny fragments of cancerous cells which have leached out of her milk duct and into her breast tissue.

Furthermore, genetic testing has shown that she has a higher than average risk of her cancer coming back.  

She explained: ‘I’m in the top five or six per cent of women in the country in terms of the likelihood of recurrence.

‘That puts me in the ‘moderate risk’ category – higher than the average woman – but, look, it’s about percentages and perspectives.

‘The doctors have not found a huge spread of an aggressive cancer. I have lost my breast but been able to have an implant and keep my own nipple.

‘I feel lucky and grateful every single day, and I have to learn to live with this risk, to accept the fragility of life, without it consuming me.’

Read the full interview in Hello! magazine, out now.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.

When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.

Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men though this is rare.

Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast growing. High grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.

What causes breast cancer?

A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.

Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign. 

The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  • Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under the microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.

If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest x-ray.

How is breast cancer treated?

Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.

  • Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
  • Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focussed on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying
  • Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is treatment?

The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.

The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 mean more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

For more information visit breastcancercare.org.uk, breastcancernow.org or www.cancerhelp.org.uk

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk