BBC newsreader Kate Williams reveals rare cancer diagnosis

BBC newsreader Kate Williams has revealed she has a rare form of cancer.

Williams, who works for BBC Radio 5 Live, said she was diagnosed with cystic peritoneal mesothelioma last summer.

She told 5 Live’s You, Me and The Big C podcast she was only aware of three other people in the UK who have that particular form of cancer.

It affects the abdominal cavity – the large space in the body bound by the abdominal walls, diaphragm and pelvis.

Williams, who is married with two children, said: “If you look at the medical literature, they often quote 153 cases in the world.

“And in the UK I know of three other people, mainly through a Facebook group that I joined.

“If you look at mesothelioma it’s not a nice one to look at. It’s very aggressive, malignant, quite often caused by asbestos.”

Describing her course of surgery, she said: “It’s called MOAS – mother of all surgeries.

“They took out the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, greater omentum, lesser omentum, pelvic peritoneum, another bit of my peritoneum.”

She added: “I keep saying I’m lucky or it wasn’t too bad – my surgery was only about six hours.

“People say ‘oh six hours’ but some patients who have this, it’s 12 to 14 hours.”

Many people offered their support on social media, including former 5 Live presenter Shelagh Fogarty, who tweeted Williams to say she was sending her “tons of love” after what she had been through.

You, Me and The Big C – a podcast about living with cancer – was originally co-hosted by BBC presenter Rachael Bland, who died last year from cancer.

She presented the podcast with Lauren Mahon and Deborah James, who also have cancer. They vowed to continue making the podcast after her death.

  • Listen to the full interview with Kate Williams on BBC Sounds here.

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