‘My heart broke for him’ BBC presenter Rachael Bland opens up about ‘incurable’ breast cancer diagnosis

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  • BBC Radio 5 live presenter Rachael Bland has opened up about the moment she was told about her ‘incurable’ breast cancer diagnosis in a heartbreaking blog post.

    The newsreader, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2016, revealed her sad news in a post on her blog, Big C. Little Me, admitting her fate now lies in clinical trials.

    Recalling how she was with her two-year-old son Freddie and his friends at an ice cream farm when she received the news, Rachael said: ‘My heart raced as I answered it, knowing a phone call did not bode well.

    ‘Then came the words, “I am so sorry, it’s bad news. The biopsies have come back showing the same cancer is back and is in the skin.”

    ‘I watched my little Freddie innocently playing away in a tyre in the barn and my heart broke for him.

    Image credit: Rachael Bland, Bic.C.Little.Me

    ‘I scooped him up and dashed home and then had to break [husband] Steve’s heart with the news that my cancer was now metastatic and therefore incurable.’

    Metastatic breast cancer, also known as secondary breast cancer, occurs when cancer cells spread from the primary cancer in the breast to other parts of the body.

    Rachael is now taking a new trial drug that is designed to make immunotherapy more effective in treating breast cancer.

    She explained: ‘It works by getting your own immune system to start attacking the cancer. Immunotherapy is currently considered to be the future of targeted cancer treatment.  It works well in some types of cancer but not in breast cancer.

    ‘I am taking it with a new trial drug that is designed to try and make it more effective.  It is a Phase 1b trial so very early in the process and I feel an odd sense of pride that I am one of fewer than 150 people worldwide who will test it.

    ‘If it doesn’t help me then I hope the data I provide will at some point in the future help others in the same position.’