Fighting back after shock of cancer gave me lighter look at life -- SILE

Melanie Finn, Showbiz Editor

BRAVE broadcaster Sile Seoige has described her cancer battle as a total "wake-up call".

The Newstalk presenter (34) has revealed how she managed to cope following her diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

It's understood that she's now in remission and is getting her life back on track after beating the disease.

"I think anyone who's gone through cancer or is going through it, will appreciate that you think it's the worst thing in the world that you've ever heard -- it's terrifying," she said.

"But then you realise all the good stuff that can come from it and it can be the most amazing wake-up call your life will ever get."

Since releasing a statement through her agent Noel Kelly about her health battle last February, Sile has only given one interview about her personal battle.

She had her thyroid removed and spent a week receiving radioactive iodine treatment in an isolation ward in Blackrock Hospital. But she opened up about her own experience on her Newstalk show over the weekend as she helped publicise the popular Dip In The Nip event to raise funds for cancer.

And she said coming through her own fight has helped put everything in perspective.

"Until you're diagnosed with something like cancer, you worry about getting a haircut or losing weight. That all goes completely out the window. But in saying that, it is the greatest reality check you'll ever get. I'm far more relaxed than I ever would have been," she said.

Sile was the ambassador for the same event last year -- just a few weeks before the diagnosis was made.

"I remember Maire [Garvey] asked me the question last year 'how would you feel if you lost your hair?' I really had to think about it," she said.

"At that stage, I didn't know I had cancer. I was diagnosed last September and it really does make you think because no one knows.

"You might be able to keep your illness quiet for a while but if you lose your hair, you may as well have a tattoo across your forehead," she continued.

She went on to say how people with cancer "find humour in the darkest of corners" as they cope with things in their own way.

Organised by Maire Garvey, this year sees it growing from a Sligo event to taking place in Meath, Cork and Clare as hundreds of brave women take a skinny dip in the sea.

And Sile described the event as a "two fingers to cancer".

"It's like, 'We're here, and we're living life and we're going to enjoy every second'. A lot of people listening to this, myself included, might be 'I don't know if I would be brave enough to do that'," she added.

She has also thanked her partner Kim Burrowes, her sister Grainne and all her family and close friends for helping her deal with the disease.