TV and radio presenter Nicki Chapman has been praised for speaking out about her recent brain tumour diagnosis and subsequent recovery from surgery.
The 52-year-old, who was found to have a tumour “the size of a golf ball”, told the Daily Mail she was “petrified” but tried to “stay positive”.
The Brain Tumour Charity said sharing the experience would help “end the isolation” of fellow sufferers.
Chief executive Sarah Lindsell said she was “grateful” Chapman had spoken out.
“Nicki’s decision to share her experience will make a real difference in helping to end the isolation felt by so many people who are diagnosed with a brain tumour,” she said.
The charity tweeted its support on Saturday, following Chapman’s interview in the Mail.
Chapman, who said she would not be co-presenting the BBC’s coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, underwent surgery at a London hospital earlier this month following her diagnosis in March and is currently recuperating at home.
“I really hope other people who get a similar diagnosis have the excellent treatment I had, and find the same inner strength,” she told the Mail’s Frances Hardy.
She said the operation had gone well, that the tumour was benign and that most of it had been removed, but a “little bit” of the tumour which was growing close to one of the main cerebral veins had to be left because the risk from removing it was too great.
“I know it might come back, but if it does they’ll deal with it before it gets too big.
“I don’t know about the future but I’m as optimistic as I possibly can be.”
Symptoms of a brain tumour
- severe, persistent headaches.
- seizures (fits)
- persistent nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.
- mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality.
- progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body.
- vision or speech problems
Chapman, who rose to public prominence as a judge on the ITV talent show Pop Idol in 2001, said she first became aware something was amiss six weeks ago, when she noticed she was suffering from blurred vision and speech difficulties.
She said she assumed the symptoms were “menopause-related”, but her doctor urged her to go to hospital.
A scan discovered a tumour on the back, left-hand side of her head, “the size of a golf ball, pressing on my brain”.
Chapman’s colleagues from TV and radio have shown their support on social media, including tweets from fellow BBC Radio 2 DJ Ken Bruce, and presenters Suzi Perry, Carol Vorderman and Lucy Alexander.
James Wong, one of her co-hosts on the Chelsea Flower Show, recalled Chapman’s generosity when he was a novice on live TV, and how she gave up a day to help him prepare.
“Would you guys send me some big love her way as she recovers from her op?” he tweeted. “What a lady!”
Chapman said she was “devastated” not to be able to work on this year’s Chelsea Flower Show – which she has co-hosted for 13 years – but was following doctor’s orders.
“You have to give yourself the best possible chance to heal,” she said. “You don’t get a second chance to recover.”
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 21-25 May.