Victoria Derbyshire on Loose Women

Cancer survivor Victoria Derbyshire talks writing goodbye letters to her young sons

Victoria Derbyshire was given the all clear from cancer in 2017

Emmy Griffiths

Victoria Derbyshire has opened up about the terrifying prospect of writing goodbye letters to her two sons, Oliver and Joe, ahead of her mastectomy. The presenter, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and received the all clear in 2017, admitted that the letters were the only way she could sleep the night before her operation. Speaking on Loose Women, she said: "It was life-saving surgery. I had a fear about the anaesthetic, rather than getting rid of a breast. That was fine, it had cancer in there, get rid of it. I just worried, what if I don't wake up? I know that was irrational – that was the anxiety in the run up to the operation. The only way I could get to sleep the night before was to write two letters - one to Oliver who is my oldest son, who was 11 at the time, and one to Joe, who was 8 at the time."

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Victoria opened up about undergoing the operation

Tearing up, she continued: "Just to tell them how much I love them and remind them of funny things they'd done throughout their life. Remind them a bit about how they were born – because Oliver took ages to come out, Joe was out in two hours... they love those stories. Just remind them to be polite when they grow up and have manners." Victoria has now written a book about her struggle with cancer, titled Dear Cancer, Love Victoria.

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Speaking about writing it, she explained: "I did some video diaries through my treatment, documenting the side effects. Lots of people watched them. That wasn't the point of it, it was just because I'm a journalist and I work on TV, I thought, I'll record what happens. The response to those was overwhelming – [people said] I watched this before I had a mastectomy and it really helped me. I was not expecting that, I felt really privileged. Then I thought maybe I could write about it, because I do write a diary. Obviously there's a lot of rubbish in there as well, it just went from there."

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