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Lawlor: 'My surprise was not getting cancer early'

'Morning Ireland' presenter reveals killer disease often struck her family

Brave RTE presenter Aine Lawlor -- who is recovering from breast cancer -- said yesterday that she always figured cancer would get her and was only surprised it hadn't happened sooner when she was diagnosed late last year.

The popular Morning Ireland presenter has been undergoing treatment since last October.

The mother of four stunned hundreds of thousands of listeners last year when she told them she was taking a break for unspecified medical treatment.

But yesterday, in a forthright, poignant and brave interview on The Marian Finucane Show, the current affairs presenter told listeners she hoped to be back on the programme as soon as she could over the summer.

"I have been told I am better now," Ms Lawlor said.

She recalled that cancer had always been part of her family experience, with her mother, grandmother and cousin all being diagnosed. Her mother had died at just 47.

Ms Lawlor said she was 50 when she learned she had cancer and was surprised that it hadn't happened sooner. "It was always something I thought was going to get me," she said.

After having a mammogram and biopsy, she broke the news to her eldest children first. "I wanted them to know. I was cranky and I didn't want the youngest, who had a birthday, to be overshadowed," she said.

The journalist's treatment began just a couple of weeks after her diagnosis and she later took part in a drug trial at a public hospital while her private health insurance was used for surgery.

When she had chemotherapy, she said, she spent a lot of time getting sick and that it was worst at night.

Ms Lawlor later got her head shaved before she lost her hair. "I looked like Diarmuid Ferriter (the historian)," she laughed.

Ms Lawlor said everyone reacted differently to chemotherapy but recalled a bright and cheerful place with "a lot of laughter" as people were treated in the clinic.

"But not everyone is going to get better and there is a whole sensitivity you have to be aware of," she said.

Praising friends and neighbours, she added: "You forget how good, kind and generous people are."

She acknowledged that it had been very hard for her children, some of whom were doing their Leaving Certificate exams.

"My son Jack said she must be getting better because she's giving out again," said Ms Lawlor, who is hoping to start radiotherapy treatment next week.

Sunday Independent