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Sian Williams reveals she had double mastectomy after cancer diagnosis

Sian Williams
Image caption Sian Williams said her biggest fear was not seeing her children grow up

Former BBC Breakfast presenter Sian Williams has revealed she has had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Channel 5 newsreader told Woman and Home magazine that she was diagnosed a week after her 50th birthday in 2014.

The 51-year-old said she had always thought she was healthy as she "did all the right things - I was a green tea drinker, a salmon eater, a runner".

She said her main fear was not seeing her two youngest children grow up.

'Bewildered and scared'

"My biggest fear was not being there as a mum - and for some unfathomable reason, I couldn't stop thinking that I want to be here for my daughter Evie to watch her get married," the mother-of-four said.

"My aunt died of breast cancer, and I'd lost my mum to liver and bowel cancer - and I gradually began to realise how bewildered and scared I was."

She also told the magazine that nobody apart from her children's teacher knew she had undergone a double mastectomy.

It has not been revealed when she underwent the operation but Williams said she was "horrible" to her husband Paul Woolwich at the time because she was intent on "being strong".

"Paul is an extraordinary man," she said.

"I have learnt I need to let him know if I need support or an outstretched hand to help me up."


Why have a mastectomy?

Image copyright Science Photo Library
  • The aim of a mastectomy operation is to remove all cancerous tissue from one or both breasts. It is used to treat breast cancer in women or men.
  • There are several different types of mastectomy, depending on the areas that are removed. A standard mastectomy is when all the breast tissue and most of the skin covering is removed.
  • A mastectomy is recommended when the tumour is large in proportion to the breast, the cancer is present in more than one area or pre-cancerous cells have affected most of the breast.
  • They are sometimes carried out on healthy breasts to reduce the risk of breast cancer developing if a woman has a very high risk of developing breast cancer, possibly because she has a family history of breast cancer and carries a mutated version of the BRCA1, BRCA2 or TP53 gene.
  • According to the most recent statistic on the NHS Choices website, just under 23,200 mastectomies were carried out in England in 2012/13.
  • All women aged 50 to 70 and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every three years.

Source: NHS Choices


Williams presented BBC Breakfast from 2001 to 2012, having first joined the BBC as a trainee and reported on the Hillsborough disaster for BBC Radio Merseyside.

She continues to make occasional programmes for BBC radio and television.

Her revelation comes as BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire completes her last major treatment for breast cancer.

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