COUNTRYFILE'S Julia Bradbury, 51, has revealed she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo a mastectomy next month.
The mother-of-three bravely opened up about the battle ahead in a new interview, admitting: "It changes your world forever in an instant.
"There is no preparing you for those words. You hear 'cancer' and your brain starts to explode."
The mother-of-three will have her left breast removed along with the six centimetre tumour, while the surgeons will also take tissue from her lymph nodes to establish whether the disease has spread or not.
Last year, Julia had found a lump in her breast which proved to be a cluster of benign micro-cysts, and she had to have another mammogram this year.
The scan, which included an ultra sound and a physical examination, hadn't returned anything alarming, so she almost didn't go to her follow up appointment this month.
However, her sister encouraged her to keep the appointment, and so she did, only for her doctor to find a small shadow on her breast.
Julia told the Mail on Sunday: "Suddenly I was lying down on my side with my back braced against a pillow having a machine like a hole punch taking lumps out of my breast."
It was the first of many biopsies under her private health care, and decided she wanted to get news of her results in her own home with her partner Gerard by her side.
The Countryfile star said: "I am glad I scheduled it for home, because he spoke the words no one wants to hear, ever. 'High grade. Sizeable tumour. Six centimetres [just over 2in]. Could be trouble to treat in terms of the area.' "
Julia, who has children Zeph, 10, and twins Zena and Xanthe, six, said: "I have to hope I have caught mine early enough.
"A mastectomy is a shattering thing to go through but it means that I am going to live and be here for my children."
She continued: "Cancer has so many points, the diagnosis seems like everything, but it isn't. It puts you on a pathway and you have to navigate that while holding back your emotions so you are not overwhelmed all the time.
"Right now I'm simply focused on having surgery because I don't know how I am going to be, if I will have more cancer to deal with, how I will cope with recovery, how life will feel afterwards."
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