Clare Balding battling cancer

BBC presenter Clare Balding is battling thyroid cancer, it has emerged.

The face of the corporation's horse racing coverage has had her thyroid gland removed and is to undergo radioactive iodine treatment in July, the Daily Mail said.

She told the paper: "So far there have been no real side effects. I've been wheezing slightly but other than that feel fine. My main worry is my voice because that is what I do."

Former jockey Balding, 38, had an initial throat operation in April after the Grand National horse race, the BBC's coverage of which she helped anchor.

The race saw her come in for criticism after she joked live on air about the state of winning jockey Liam Treadwell's teeth. On her website she explained why she had not come on TV or radio afterwards to publicly apologise.

"I was in hospital, having a cyst removed from my thyroid gland and being prepared for a general anaesthetic. I consequently missed most of the discussion," Balding said.

The presenter said the BBC had told her to take as much time off as she wanted. She is currently recuperating at her parents' property in Kingsclere near Newbury, Berkshire.

Her civil partner of three years, Alice Arnold - a fellow BBC broadcaster - had also been "very calm and supportive", Balding said.

She has vowed to be back on TV for the Derby at Epsom next week, wearing a jacket with a high collar to cover her neck.

"It looks like I have had my throat slit, but it won't stop me being at the Derby," she said.