BBC NEWS presenter Colin Briggs last night revealed his four-month battle with incurable cancer. The father of two, who has been a member of the Look North breakfast team for nearly 15 years, had a biopsy on a lump in his neck in the late spring.
It was only then that doctors diagnosed follicular lymphoma – or cancer of the lymph nodes. Since then he has gone through numerous bouts of radiotherapy.
And last night Mr Briggs, who lives in Prudhoe, Northumberland, issued a poignant message to other people diagnosed with the disease –urging them not to panic.
He said: “I had a lump in my neck which I discovered in the late spring and I just noticed that it was not going away. Eventually I went to the GP who sent me to a consultant. They were saying it was the wrong shape to be cancer but it turned out to be follicular lymphoma.
“The good news is that it’s treatable, but the bad news is that it’s incurable. The idea is to live with it, rather than die from it.
“People should not be paralysed with blind panic when they find out about the condition.
“Obviously you feel awful because it’s a scary thing to hear, but the facilities and the treatments are so much better than they used to be.”
Follicular lymphoma is a low-grade cancer, which means there are minor symptoms that often go unnoticed for a long time. As a result, Mr Briggs, who lives with his wife Sue, and his two children Guy, 18, and Charlotte, 15, will continue to host the BBC’s morning news.
And last night he thanked those people who had offered him help during his treatment.
He said: “I’ve received so many emails from people who have shown their support.
“I defy anybody to turn around and just deal with having cancer.
“It was the day after my birthday when I found out, and I must confess the room did get a little warmer when I was told the news.
“All my son said was, ‘It’s not hereditary is it?’ Which made me laugh so much. My treatment was not quite as horrific as you might have thought and there was a real upbeat response from the doctors which truly helped. The Freeman Hospital was just fantastic. It’s an amazing hospital, bright with a friendly environment. The staff were just great and they made me feel so at ease.”