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Countryfile and Watchdog presenter Julia Bradbury is currently battling breast cancer.
During a candid interview with The Daily Mail, the 51-year-old mother-of-three reflected: "It changes your world forever in an instant. There is no preparing you for those words. You hear 'cancer' and your brain starts to explode.
"The cruel thing about human beings is that we are the only creatures on the planet who know we are going to die. We all live in hope of a peaceful end in our beds, having had children and grandchildren, or having fulfilled whatever mission in life we choose.
"But the word cancer is so ugly it makes you think of the most unimaginably horrible death. That's the reality of it."
Bradbury's doctor discovered a lump in her breast last year which turned out to be a cluster of benign micro-cysts, so she's undergoing a mastectomy in October.
"It is arbitrary and unfair. I have to hope I have caught mine early enough," she continued. "A mastectomy is a shattering thing to go through but it means that I am going to live and be here for my children. Cancer has so many points, the diagnosis seems like everything, but it isn't. It puts you on a pathway and you have to navigate that while holding back your emotions so you are not overwhelmed all the time.
"Right now I'm simply focused on having surgery because I don't know how I am going to be, if I will have more cancer to deal with, how I will cope with recovery, how life will feel afterwards."
Opening up about her children's reaction to the news, she said they were "OK" and have been encouraged to ask whatever they want, whenever they feel the urge.
"But it's hard to calibrate – how honest can you be with children without scaring them? Xanthe [her daughter] asked, 'Mummy can I still hug you?' I said 'Yes darling, I need your hugs more than ever.'"
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