Julia Bradbury Says Goodbye to Breast with Pre-Mastectomy Selfie
Julia Bradbury was in the midst of filming a new series showcasing her love of nature when she got the call informing her she had breast cancer. She finished the workday and then informed her coworkers, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, hosts of "This Morning" on ITV, who shared the news with viewers the next day.
Willoughby revealed doctors had first discovered a shadow on Bradbury's breast tissue in July during a mammogram. A series of tests followed, until finally Bradbury received the official diagnosis in September.
In an interview with Hello! Magazine, Bradbury shared her concerns following her diagnosis.
"Fear of death is what you think of when you first hear the 'cancer' word," she said. "And then it's fear of the unknown. Then there's a grieving process, as well, and disbelief."
The 51-year-old television host, who was diagnosed with endometriosis in her 30s and also struggles with depression, has been open and honest about both her physical and mental health over the years, and the importance of therapy for her well-being.
As the date of her surgery approached, Bradbury used mindfulness and talk therapy to cope. "I had a really powerful session with my counselor yesterday," she told Hello! Magazine, "who taught me how to listen to myself and my body, how to look inward for 10 or so minutes, to make sure my stress levels don't go through the roof."
She also took to Instagram to share the ups and downs of her journey from diagnosis through surgery. On October 7, she posted a somber selfie, her eyes welling with tears. "I want to share this photo, because it doesn't matter how much support you have, how much love, or even if you have a clear path of treatment for your breast cancer...sometimes you just feel overwhelming [sic] sad."
'One of the best bits of advice I've received in the weeks of my breast cancer diagnosis...is to say goodbye to my breast and to thank my body for all the sustenance, joy & life it has given me.'
"I cry when I read a kind message sometimes, or if I think about the reality of my mastectomy, or this morning, when I couldn't hug my children before school, because I'm self isolating," she continued. "And that's OK. We're allowed to be sad..."
The next day, Bradbury followed up with a brave goodbye to her left boob. "I'm going for my last walk in this body. I'm going for my last walk with these boobs. One of the best bits of advice I've received in the weeks of my breast cancer diagnosis...is to say goodbye to my breast and to thank my body for all the sustenance, joy & life it has given me," she said.
"Goodbye left boob.. I've breastfed my children with you, I've jumped into the sea with you, I've walked thousands of miles with you. And you've given me (and some others 😅) pleasure along the way. Now it's time to make way for something new," she concluded.
Following her operation, Bradbury shared a photo from her hospital bed. In her post, she explained the various elements in the photo, including the drain used to channel surplus blood following her surgery, the special post-mastectomy bra she has to wear for the next six weeks, and the marker lines on her chest the surgeon followed during surgery.
She then shared some important breast cancer stats: "I've now joined a sadly ever-growing club. Around 18,000 mastectomies are performed on the NHS in England every year. That's up 50% in the past 10 years. (Roughly 100,000 women have a mastectomy in the U.S. every year.)," Bradbury said. "Since the 90's breast carcinoma in situ (the type of cancer I was diagnosed with) has tripled in women & doubled in men. One person every 10 minutes gets diagnosed with breast cancer."
Bradbury expressed relief that the surgery was over. "The anxiety leading up to it was overwhelming. I feel sad that such a brutal treatment is necessary in so many breast cancer cases, but I choose life."