Dame Esther Rantzen has revealed that her lung cancer has progressed to Stage 4. The 83-year-old broadcaster and founder of charities Childline and The Silver Line, initially shared the news of her diagnosis in January, when she said that the cancer had “now spread”.
Speaking to the Mirror, Rantzen said: "I'm on one of the new medications, and nobody knows if it's working or not. But I will have a scan fairly soon which will reveal one way or another."
She added: "My diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer made me realise how lucky I've been in my life, working with Childline and the Silver Line, and meeting so many fascinating and inspiring people, and especially luck to have spent 21 years working as producer/presenter of That's Life!"
"I'm not good at regrets. What I treasure most are the fantastic friendships I have made thanks to That's Life! during the last 50 years, the pepole I met, and the team who worked so hard, and laughed so hard, together for so long."
When did she reveal her lung cancer diagnosis?
Rantzen revealed her lung cancer diagnosis earlier this year in January.
Speaking to PA Media, Rantzen said that she had been diagnosed with “lung cancer which has now spread”.
The former broadcaster said: “In the last few weeks I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread. At the moment I am undergoing various tests, to assess the best treatment. 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.”
Rantzen continued: “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.
“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.
“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.”
When was she made a Dame?
Rantzen was made a Dame in 2015 for her services to children and older people.
In 2021, she received the lifetime achievement award at the Women of the Year Awards for her charity work.
Who was her husband?
Rantzen married journalist and TV producer Desmond Wilcox in 1977, with the couple staying together until his death in 2000. They had three children together Miriam, Rebecca, and Josh.
In 2021, she opened up about losing her husband on her Channel 5 show “Esther Rantzen: Living With Grief”. Reported by The Express, she shared: “I had 32 of the best years of my life with him. He radiated warmth and light into our lives and for the moment we fear that we have lost the sunshine we depended on.”
What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer, with 43,000 people in the UK diagnosed every year according to the NHS.
People with the condition often develop symptoms including:
- a persistent cough
- coughing up blood
- persistent breathlessness
- unexplained tiredness and weight loss
- an ache or pain when breathing or coughing
You can learn more about the condition at Cancer Research UK.