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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Kate Ng

Victoria Derbyshire recalls her hair falling out after second chemo cycle: ‘I grabbed a clump’

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Victoria Derbyshire has reflected on her experience of chemotherapy and being “utterly horrified” when her hair began falling out in the shower.

The BBC presenter, 54, revealed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She underwent chemotherapy and a mastectomy to remove the malignant tumour in her right breast.

During her first round of the intense cancer treatment, Derbyshire said she wore an ice cap, or cold cap, which is said to help prevent hair loss.

In an interview with The Telegraph published on Saturday (3 December), the broadcaster said she was “determined” to keep her hair.

“I wore an exceedingly unpleasant ice cap on my head during chemo and after my first session, felt vindicated that I’d nailed it,” she recalled.

Her second cycle of chemotherapy, however, brought on hair loss.

“I shouldn’t have been so bloody smug!” Derbyshire said. “After my second cycle, I was staying at a hotel and getting all dolled up for a party, so I washed my hair in the shower. The force of the water sent long strands cascading down onto the bath.

“I was utterly horrified. I grabbed a clump and rushes through to Mark [Sandell] to show him and I remember saying, ‘Oh God, it’s just begun’.”

Derbyshire and her husband Sandell, a TV and radio producer, have been married since 2018 after 17 years together. They share two children.

The presenter made her diagnosis public on Twitter when she received it and continued to head her eponymous BBC Two current affairs programme until two years ago. She was 46 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In 2020, Derbyshire opened up about the moment she prepared her husband to raise their children alone after fearing her cancer had spread.

During an appearance on BBC One special Dear NHS Superstars, she revealed that she believed her life was about to end.

She recalled returning home after being recommended a CT scan to ensure her cancer had not spread and telling Sandell that he “might have to bring up the boys on your own”.

However, less than an hour later, she received the good news that the cancer had not spread as she had feared.

“I just shouted down the phone, ‘Oh my God, I love you’,” she said. “I still had cancer. It was a moment of joy, in the middle of a really dark time.”

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