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Dame Tessa Jowell opens up about brain cancer diagnosis

The former Cabinet minister has been battling brain cancer

Sharnaz Shahid

Dame Tessa Jowell has spoken about having a "clear sense of purpose" despite being diagnosed with brain cancer last year. The 70-year-old revealed she didn't experience "a single symptom" before the tumour was found. Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Baroness Jowell explained: "I was diagnosed with an acute and very serious form of brain cancer. I had not a single apparent symptom."

Dame Tessa Jowell was diagnosed with brain cancer last year

In May 2017, Tessa was found to have a high-grade brain tumour known as glioblastoma. "I don't think I immediately leapt to the inevitability of cancer," she added. "I think that to begin with I thought I would have this tumour, it would be operated on and that would be it. It is actually much harder now because now my life is day by day affected by the tumour." Tessa, who is mother to two children and three stepchildren, said that the support from her loved ones has been invaluable. "I have so much love in my family, my children, my close friends it's the most extraordinary, blessed and recreating sense and I feel that I want that to be experienced by so many other people as well," she shared.

READ: Dame Tessa Jowell battling brain cancer, her family reveals

Tessa continued: "I am not afraid. I feel very clear about my sense of purpose, and what I want to do, and how do I know how long [my life is] going to last? I'm certainly going to do whatever I can to make sure it lasts a very long time." Tessa was first elected to Parliament in 1992 and served as culture secretary from 2001 until 2007 under Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair and his successor Gordon Brown. Hailed as the woman who brought the Olympics back to Britain, she was made a Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2012 before standing down as an MP at the 2015 general election.

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