Julia Bradbury health: Presenter ‘felt like a piece of meat’ before mastectomy

Julia Bradbury shares heartbreaking moment before mastectomy

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The Countryfile presenter, 51, was diagnosed with a tumour in her breast last year and underwent a mastectomy in October 2021. Before the surgery took place, she was marked with a black felt tip to indicate where cuts would be made. She said she “felt like a piece of meat on a block”.

“They were like something you see in the butchers,” she told You Magazine.

After the surgery, she continued to remain unsettled. She revealed how it was almost two months before she could look down at the site of her mastectomy.

“At that point [after the mastectomy] – and I think this is a moment that every woman who has had a mastectomy will share – I had never felt so lost, so out of control and so deeply sad.

“The shape of me, as I knew it when I looked in the mirror, was never going to be the same again.”

She had a reconstructed left breast but didn’t dare to look. “I didn’t want to see myself so horribly damaged, bruised and battered,” she said.

But eventually, she looked down at what she said was like a “plasticine boob”.

“I looked at it in the bedroom in my wardrobe mirror and – I don’t want to upset my surgeon because he has done a brilliant job – it looked like a Plasticine boob. That was eight weeks post-mastectomy.”

Weeks after the operation, she realised “how far” she had come after her mum looked at her again and said, “Jules, it is beautiful”.

Despite the surgery, she hasn’t received the all-clear.

After cancer treatment, cancer cells can sometimes evade the treatment and survive. These cells can multiply in future, turning into recurrent cancer.

Bradbury revealed she has “micro-invasions” – tiny fragments of cancer cells in her breast.

The star is also part of the top five or six per cent of women likely to have a breast cancer recurrence and is in the “moderate risk” category.

But she is still in good spirits, and feels “lucky and grateful every single day”.

“The doctors have not found a huge spread of an aggressive cancer. I have lost my breast but been able to have an implant and keep my own nipple…

“I have to learn to live with this risk, to accept the fragility of life, without it consuming me.”

Alongside her mastectomy, she also had two lymph glands removed.

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A post shared by Julia Bradbury (@therealjuliabradbury)

There are several factors that increase the risk of recurrent cancer for breast cancer survivors. These include having inflammatory breast cancer, and cancer that was large in size, according to Mayo Clinic.

As part of the surgery, the surgeon removes some healthy tissue surrounding the tumour. This tissue is looked at for cancer cells.

If part of the border has cancer cells, the risk of breast cancer recurrence is higher.

Moreover, younger people, especially those under the age of 35 are likely to have a higher risk.

Days before her interview with You Magazine, Bradbury revealed an emotional video talking about when she was told she needed a mastectomy.

She wrote: “This is the moment I found out I had to have a mastectomy. Utter shock, sadness & fear.

“I’ve made a documentary for @itv about my #breastcancer experience to spread awareness, not just about cancer, but the impact a diagnosis has on a person & their family & friends.”

Her ITV programme airs on April the 28th.

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