Health

Clare Balding health: Presenter reveals her shocking diagnosis and invasive treatment

Clare Balding, 49, revealed she had thyroid cancer back in 2009. The BBC Sport presenter went public with the news at the time and made light of her illness saying: “At the moment I sound like Kermit”. Clare reportedly had her first operation in April that year to remove a cyst, just a month before she went public with the cancer news, but a second operation was necessary to remove her thyroid gland which was found to be cancerous. In July that year she underwent radioactive iodine treatment.

In 2011, Clare gave an update on BBC Radio 2’s French and Saunders programme, revealing she had been given the all-clear for thyroid cancer.

Clare said that she needed no more treatment since having a lymph node removed before Christmas.

Clare added: “I had to have a little operation just before Christmas to take out a nasty little lymph node and there was a worry that I might have to have treatment.

“But I had a lovely letter from my oncologist just after Christmas saying, ‘Hurrah, no more treatment’, so I am very happy about that.”

Amidst the news, Clare said: “So far there has been no real side effects.

“I have been wheezing slightly but other than that I feel fine.

“My main worry is my voice because that is what I do.

“The BBC has told me to take as much time off as I like but they know me, I’d feel worse if I took time off.”

When Clare announced the news of her cancer, she promised to be back on television covering the Epson Derby the following Saturday.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer

There are five main symptoms of thyroid cancer, according to the NHS.

These include:

A painless lump or swelling in the front of the neck – although only one in 20 neck lumps are cancer

 

Swollen glands in the neck

 

Unexplained hoarseness that doesn’t get better after a few weeks

 

A sore throat that doesn’t get better

 

Difficulty swallowing

Treatment for thyroid cancer

Treatment depends on the type of thyroid cancer you have

Treatments include:

A thyroidectomy – surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid

Radiactive iodine treatment – you swallow a radioactive substance that travels through your blood and kills the cancer cells

External radiotherapy – a machine is used to direct beams of radiation at the cancer cells to kill them

Chemotherapy and targeted therapies – medications used to kill cancer cells

Treatment depends on the type of thyroid cancer you have.

But the health body says the main treatments are:

A thyroidectomy – surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid

Radioactive iodine treatment – you swallow a radioactive substance that travels through your blood and kills the cancer cells

External radiotherapy – a machine is used to direct beams of radiation at the cancer cells to kill them

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