Viewers were moved as Julia Bradbury’s son asked if her cancer was ‘contagious’ in heartbreaking scenes featured in her documentary.
The Countryfile presenter gave the public an open and honest look at her cancer battle in the ITV documentary, Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer And Me, which aired on Thursday evening.
Julia, 51, was diagnosed with the disease in September 2021 with doctors discovering a 5cm tumour in her left breast. She underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction in October 2021.
In the documentary, Julia depicts the challenges of explaining cancer to young children – the TV star is mother to three children – Zephyr, 10, and twin daughters Xanthe and Zena, aged seven – who she shares with husband Gerald Cunningham.
One scene sees the presenter spending quality time with her children, as she recalls: ‘My little boy, I was reading to him in bed and he said to me, “is it contagious, mummy, like Covid?” I said, “no sweetheart, it’s this different thing”.
‘He’d obviously been thinking about it. We’ve all been going through it together and it’s hard to know as a parent if you’re getting it right. Talking to them about cancer in the right way, what is the right way?’
One of her daughters, sitting on Julia’s lap with her face concealed from the cameras, is also heard asking the star if she’s had ‘tingling yet’, referring to getting feeling back in her breasts.
‘This is never a lesson you ever want to teach your children about cancer,’ Julia stated.
Julia is later seen taking her children to a lesson teaching youngsters about the disease.
‘How is this going to affect them in five, 10 years time – I can’t answer that right now,’ she said.
‘But I hope we’ve handled it pretty well. I hope I’m still alive in ten years to ask them the question. But you just do the best you can.
‘There’s still disbelief that I’m in that room with those mums and parents as one of them. Cancer is a lifetime diagnosis, it’s not dealt with after treatment. You need to learn to deal with it for the rest of your life. That’s a big learning curve for me.’
She added: ‘Cancer has put me on a different footings, it’s completely changed my life. Life is incredible precious. I have three amazing children I have to live for. I want to take this horrible thing that has happened and turn it into something positive. The simple and small and ordinary things are the most important things.’
Julia Bradbury: Breast Cancer And Me is available to watch on ITV Hub.
Macmillan cancer support