‘I’m optimistic’: Esther Rantzen says she has lung cancer which has ‘spread’

Broadcaster shared statement regarding health

Nicole Vassell
Sunday 29 January 2023 11:17 GMT
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Dame Esther Rantzen has revealed that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The broadcaster, who also founded the charities Childline and The Silver Line, shared the news on Sunday (29 January), confirming that she no longer wanted to keep her health status a secret.

“In the last few weeks, I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread,” her statement began.

“At the moment I am undergoing various tests, to assess the best treatment.

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“I have decided not to keep this secret any more because I find it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise, and because I would rather you heard the facts from me.”

She continued with an acknowledgement of the people around her who have impacted her life so far.

“At the age of 82, this diagnosis has prompted me to look back over the years, and I want to express my profound thanks to everyone who has made my life so joyful, filled with fun, and with inspiration,” reads her statement to PA.

“First and foremost my family. My three children Miriam, Rebecca and Joshua have been the most wonderful support, company, and source of love and laughter and I am deeply grateful to them.

“My friends have been amazing and have created memories which sustain me and give me strength.

“My colleagues with whom I have worked, and continue to work with in broadcasting, journalism, the voluntary sector, and in many other organisations have been a constant pleasure, and have amazed me with their tolerance of my wild ideas and awful jokes.

Esther Rantzen says she has lung cancer which has 'spread'

“I have been continuously inspired by the courageous children, older people and viewers who have trusted me with their life stories. I have always tried to live up to that trust.

“As I am sure you will understand, while I am awaiting the results of the tests, I am unable to answer questions. Thanks to the extraordinary skills of the medical profession there are wonderful new treatments, so I am remaining optimistic.”

Rantzen is best known for being the presenter of That’s Life, a topical entertainment show, from 1973 to 1994.

In 2015, she was made a DBE for services to children and older people through ChildLine and The Silver Line.

Additional reporting by PA

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