Clare Balding, 48, 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.
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.
In August that year, she revealed the radioactive iodine had been successful and there were no signs the cancer had spread.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer
There are five symptoms associated with thyroid cancer, according to the NHS.
- A painless lump or swelling in the front of the neck – although only 1 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
It further advises: “See your GP if you have symptoms of thyroid cancer. The symptoms can be caused by less serious causes, such as an enlarged thyroid (goitre), so it’s important to get them checked out.
“Your GP will examine your neck and can organise a blood test to check how well your thyroid is working.
“If they think you could have cancer or they’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms, you’ll be referred to a hospital specialist for more tests.”
Treatment for thyroid cancer
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
- Chemotherapy and targeted therapies – medications used to kill cancer cells
Another TV presenter who has spoken out about their health condition in the past is Chris Packham.