Victoria Derbyshire reveals she felt GUILTY when Alan Rickman died of cancer during her own treatment because she was 'still here'

  • Brave BBC presenter recounts battle with breast cancer in inspiring new book
  • Writes about the moment she learned of the Harry Potter actor's death last year
  • In Dear Cancer, she recalls that it was googling 'inverted nipple' that alerted her
  • Over coming months she endured an emotional rollercoaster towards recovery 

Victoria Derbyshire has revealed she felt guilty when Alan Rickman died of cancer days after her fourth round of chemotherapy.

The BBC presenter recalls in her book Dear Cancer the moment she learned of the Love Actually actor's death on 14 January 2016.

'In an unhysterical way I find it difficult to cope with hearing about another high-profile death from cancer,' she writes.

'And then I feel guilt – I should be grateful because I'm still here and there are families everywhere mourning loved ones who've died from this disease.' 

Victoria Derbyshire (pictured in hospital) has revealed she felt guilty when Alan Rickman died of cancer days after her fourth round of chemotherapy 

Victoria Derbyshire (pictured in hospital) has revealed she felt guilty when Alan Rickman died of cancer days after her fourth round of chemotherapy 

Rickman in 2015
Rickman in Love Actually

The BBC presenter recalls in her book Dear Cancer the moment she learned of the actor's death on 14 January 2016. Pictured: Rickman in 2015 (left) and in Love Actually

In the book she also reveals how she cried after her final round of chemotherapy during her 301-day battle with breast cancer.  

The 48 year old writes: 'I draw the blanket to my eyes and cover my face. The tears come.

'I can't believe it. I can't believe I've had cancer. I can't believe I've endured chemotherapy. I can't believe that's it. I'm shell-shocked.'

She also presents a note from her partner Mark and sons Joe and Oliver which reads: 'To mummy, Well done for staying strong though all this. We knew you would pull through.'

Victoria then signs off with an upbeat note: 'It's time to crack on with the rest of my life.' 

In her book the star also reveals it was by googling 'inverted nipple' that she discovered she may have the disease.

She writes that she was searching the web for 'inverted nipple' while getting ready for work on July 27. 

It was just three days later when Victoria — having undergone a biopsy — was told by her GP that the growth was 'malignant'.

'At that moment, it feels as though a colossal fist has come crashing down on my head, the word 'malignant' crushing me cleanly and swiftly. Mark captures my hand to hold it in his.'

Victoria Derbyshire  in a  video for her cancer diaries series after her mastectomy said: 'I feel alright, I can't believe it' and 'The NHS staff have been Awesome'

Victoria Derbyshire in a video for her cancer diaries series after her mastectomy said: 'I feel alright, I can't believe it' and 'The NHS staff have been Awesome'

Writing in her new book Dear Cancer, the BBC presenter recalled the very moment that would change her world forever

Writing in her new book Dear Cancer, the BBC presenter recalled the very moment that would change her world forever

The broadcaster had started fronting her current affairs programme on BBC2 and News Channel in April 2015, just four months before her diagnosis with breast cancer
Victoria Derbyshire, winner of the News Coverage award, poses in the Winner's room at the Virgin TV BAFTA Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on May 14 this year

The broadcaster had started fronting her current affairs programme on BBC2 and News Channel in April 2015, just four months before her diagnosis with breast cancer

As Victoria looked around her sitting room one day after diagnosis, she was struck by the lack of any photographs featuring herself. 

Instead, it was snaps of her partner and two sons adorned the walls of her home — because she was the one who usually took the pictures. 

The 48-year-old decided to rectify her absence in the family photos by ensuring the place some happy images of herself around the home should the worse happen. 

By Monday August 3, it was time to tell her boys Oliver, 11 and Joe, eight, of her illness. 

Victoria wrote: 'Employing a 'by the way' kind of style, I tell the boys there's something funny going on with my breasts. 'Funny ha ha? Do you mean someone's drawn a clown on them?' asks Joe.' 

She said that hair loss made her feel 'powerless' but she chose to remove her wig on her video series an emotional scene in Victoria Derbyshire breast cancer diary part 3: Hair loss

She said that hair loss made her feel 'powerless' but she chose to remove her wig on her video series an emotional scene in Victoria Derbyshire breast cancer diary part 3: Hair loss

And with boys being boys, the conversation quickly turned into a joke-filled exchange of different euphemisms for the word 'breast'  including 'wibwabs' and 'treasure chest'.

Her sons' overriding sense of humour meant that neither of them expressed any any concern or anxiety, Victoria added. 

In the run up to her mastectomy on September 23, Victoria was getting ready for bed, when she decided to pick up a pen. 

Before heading to be that night, she wrote a letter to each of sons, letting them know how much she loved them should she not wake up from the surgery. 

Victoria, who lives in London with her partner Mark and sons Joe and Oliver, penned that she was searching the web for 'inverted nipple' while getting ready for work on July 27
It was just three days after her biopsy that Victoria was told the growth was malignant

Victoria, who lives in London with her partner Mark and sons Joe and Oliver, penned that she was searching the web for 'inverted nipple' while getting ready for work on July 27

On the morning of the operation, Victoria was lying on a bed as she was pushed through hospital.

But before being placed under anesthesia she had the chance to turn around, get a final look at her Mark and blow each other kisses. 

'Victoria! Victoria, can you hear me? Victoria!' We've done it. And I woke up. And the cancer's gone. It's amazing to see Mark, amazing that it's over. I can't believe it. I feel liberated,' she wrote. 

Nearly a month later, on October 20, Victoria was lying awake at 1.30am and pondering her looming course of chemotherapy.

Having heard the tales of cancer patients losing their hair during treatment, Victoria considered purchasing a cold cap, which would help her preserve her hair and mean she would not need the wig after all. 

But by November, long strands began slipping from her head and into the plughole while she shampoos her hair. 

She was depressed by the amount that had fallen out while wearing the cold cap, but realised that it could have been much worse had she not been. 

Victoria decided to don a beanie and head off for her wig appointment at a salon — fraught with worry and stress.

The brave presenter and mother said she struggled to hold back tears as even more of her hair fell out while her hairdresser combed through the knots. 

Victoria, by December realised it was time to make some decisions in order to help her regain control, after losing all control over what happens with her hair. 

One is to wear her wig properly for the first time, so she practiced putting it on and sticking it down.

She also decides that the following day would be the day she returned to work — it was time that she confronted her anxiety about wearing the wig in front of her friends, co-workers and her TV audience. 

  • Copyright Victoria Derbyshire, 2017. Extracted from Dear Cancer, love Victoria, by Victoria Derbyshire, published by Trapeze on September 21, priced £18.99 in hardback. Also available in ebook and audio. Readers can order copies for the special price of £15.99 (RRP £18.99) by calling 01903 828503 and quoting ref no. R1119 . Book tickets for Victoria's charity book launch – all proceeds go to Youth Cancer Support. Call 0207 087 7900 or online at theotherpalace.co.uk