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Distinguished BBC broadcaster Joan Bakewell reveals she’s been diagnosed with colon cancer – as she vows to ‘get on with life and not let it interfere’

  • Distinguished broadcaster Joan Bakewell has been diagnosed with colon cancer 
  • The cancer was detected during a routine examination late last year, she said 
  • Within a week of her diagnosis, she received an operation to remove cancer
  • Now, she’s being treated with chemotherapy as a ‘mopping-up operation’  

Distinguished broadcaster Joan Bakewell has been diagnosed with colon cancer, she revealed today.

Baroness Bakewell, 89, is undergoing treatment and was operated on prior to Christmas after her cancer was detected during a routine examination.

She said: ‘I’ve recovered from that (surgery). I’m feeling fine, and the chemotherapy is a mopping-up operation to make sure it doesn’t come back.’

The English journalist and television presenter, who has in the past spoken movingly about how powerless she felt when her sister was dying from breast cancer aged 58, said she’s feeling positive about her prognosis.

‘I’ve always been optimistic because I caught this cancer early on, side effects ketoconazole and within a week I was in hospital having an operation,’ she said.

She’s continued working throughout her health battle, including on a new series of Landscape Artist of the Year, which will begin on Sky Arts tonight. 

Distinguished broadcaster Joan Bakewell has been diagnosed with colon cancer, she revealed today

In all, she only cancelled a single session of voiceover during her recovery period. 

Baroness Bakewell, who was dubbed the ‘thinking man’s crumpet’ by humourist Frank Muir, inspired Harold Pinter’s Betrayal after she had an affair with the playwright when she was married to TV producer Michael Bakewell. Pinter was married to actress Vivien Merchant.

‘I went to the House of Lords this week, so I’ve been able to do everything I needed to do,’ the Labour peer said. 

‘I should be having chemotherapy once every two weeks, but I’ll still be out, and was at the ballet the other night. 

‘I don’t let it interfere, as much as possible, but, obviously, I do as I’m told. You just have to get on with life.’

Baroness Bakewell has had a long and illustrious career in British media, first getting a start as a studio manager for BBC Radio and going on to host several programs in the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s

She adds that her work as patron of Breast Cancer Care has stood her in good stead.

‘I know and talk to people that have got repeated cancers and things like that and I know what it means to keep your spirits up and persist with the treatments that they have offered. 

‘And, of course, I’ve been in a position to learn treatments have improved so much and cancer is no longer a death sentence – that’s why we need to catch it early and do all the tests that arise and go through it.’

She adds: ‘In a sense, it’s made me optimistic, which sounds odd.’

Baroness Bakewell has had a long and illustrious career in British media, first getting a start as a studio manager for BBC Radio and going on to host several programs in the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s.

She’s also a published author, and was awarded a lifetime peerage in January 2011.

Baroness Bakewell, 89, is undergoing treatment and was operated on prior to Christmas after her cancer was detected during a routine examination

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