Victoria Derbyshire recalls moment she prepared husband to raise their children alone amid cancer diagnosis

Sarah Young
·3-min read

Victoria Derbyshire has opened up about the moment she prepared her husband to raise their children alone after fearing her cancer had spread.

On Thursday, the TV presenter appeared on BBC One special Dear NHS Superstars, during which she recalled being diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.

At 46-years-old, Victoria said she believed that her life was ending and revealed her fears that the tumour had grown.

“When I was 46 I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” she began. “The overriding concern was, “Oh my god, am I going to die?”’

Derbyshire underwent a right-sided mastectomy but said she did not "despair about losing a breast" and "just wanted the cancer out."

After the surgery, the newsreader explained that she attended a check-up to see if there was any disease in her left breast. Just as she was about to leave the ultrasound appointment, Derbyshire told her radiologist that she had suffered some dizzy spells.

It was at this moment that the expert, named Demitrios, recommended she had CT scan to ensure the cancer had not spread.

“The atmosphere in the room changed,” she said. “I thought, ‘Okay, it’s spread. It’s spread to my brain. That’s it. There is no hope. That’s it’.”

When she got home, Derbyshire warned her husband, Mark Sandell, that he might have raise their two sons, Oliver and Joe, as a single parent.


“I got home, and I said to Mark, ‘You might have to bring up the boys on your own’,” she said.

But, just 45 minutes later, Demitrios called and informed her that the cancer had not spread.

“My mobile rang and I thought: ‘Okay, this is it.’ I took a deep breath and answered. He was really brief, he said: ‘Hello Ms Derbyshire, it’s Demitrios. The cancer hasn’t spread to another part of your body’,” she recalled.

“I just shouted down the phone, ‘Oh my god, I love you’.”

Derbyshire described the phone call as “like a moment of victory or triumph”.

“I still had cancer,” she added. “It was a moment of joy, in the middle of a really dark time.”

Victoria publicly announced her breast cancer diagnosis in July 2015 and completed her chemotherapy one year later.

The host previously opened up about the condition, revealing that losing her hair was one of the most difficult things to come to terms with.

Speaking in a Facebook video, she said: “I have to say losing my hair was the worst bit about cancer treatment for me, more so than having a mastectomy.

“Don’t judge me for that, it’s just the way I felt,” she added. “I’m grateful for this wig because it helped me get on with things, go to work, live my life normally without worrying. But it is time for it to go.”

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