‘Cancer changes you … it made me a kinder person’ says Julia Bradbury

TV Presenter Julia Bradbury has told of the tearful moments before her mastectomy – and how having breast cancer has changed her life.

The 53 year-old – cover star of October’s Prima – talks openly about her diagnosis and how it has ‘shaped’ her in the months since.

She tells the magazine she has now ‘overhauled’ her lifestyle, cutting out booze and chocolate brownies, and making herself smile and be grateful for every new dawn.

“There’s no question that a cancer diagnosis changes your life. It doesn’t define you, but it shapes you.,” she says. “It certainly revolutionised my approach to health, life and death.

“It brought gratitude to the forefront of my mind; it made me overhaul every aspect of my lifestyle and it increased my love of mother nature.

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“I also think it made me a kinder, more understanding and more patient human being. “It might sound like a weird thing to say, but I’m actually grateful for my diagnosis, because it made me re-examine my life.”

Julie, who lives in West London with property developer husband Gerard Cunningham and their three children, is probably best known for TV’s ‘Countryfile’ and ‘Britain’s Best Walks’.

She revealed her diagnosis back in 2021. As she went into surgery she recalls the nurse saying, ‘Think happy thoughts,’.

“I replied, ‘I can’t think happy thoughts, I’m about to lose my left breast,” she says. “The last thing I remember is teardrops running down my face.

After the operation, I was in a lot of pain and discomfort; I felt very discombobulate.”

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But fast forward two years and Julia is in a very different place – partly thanks to her ‘kind and caring’ husband who has been with her every step of the way.

Her new book ‘Walk Yourself Happy is due out next month, and her day-to day life is transformed. ‘I now have an eating window – with breakfast generally around 10am and supper at 6pm – and I have a really healthy diet, full of vegetables, fats and protein.

“What I don’t do any more is have buckets of ice cream and chocolate brownies. I’ve also cut out booze, as alcohol can increase the risk of recurrence, and I’ve probably done enough drinking in my life.”

“The question is, do I want that feeling again, or do I want to stay alive?’ She goes on: “Practising gratitude has become very important to me. There’s something edifying about it, and it can change your body chemistry.

“ I’ve also changed the way I start my day. I’ve never loved mornings – and I wouldn’t say I bounce out of bed now – but the first thing I do in the morning is make myself smile for 30 seconds.

“It’s proven to prompt a chemical reaction, making your brain feel like something good is going on, and it’s a nicer way to start the day.”

Prima’s October issue goes on sale today (Wed) in supermarkets and online at MagsDirect.

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