Revealing the ‘Side Effect’: Hannah Fry’s Post-Cancer Condition on BBC’s Have I Got News For You

Following a devastating cancer diagnosis at 36, Professor Hannah Fry now manages a little-known condition daily. The 40-year-old academic and TV presenter, set to guest present on “Have I Got News For You,” developed lymphoedema after a radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer in 2021.

Reflecting on the ordeal, she shared the difficulty of contemplating not being there for her two young daughters.

Hannah Fry became very much vocal about her post-cancer condition (Credit: YouTube)

Despite being informed of the potential side effect, Hannah went on to develop lymphoedema, which causes swelling in various body tissues.

While it can affect any part of the body, it typically manifests in the arms or legs, making clothing fitting and movement challenging.

Other symptoms may include recurrent skin infections, hardened or thickened skin, the formation of wart-like growths, and fluid leakage through the skin. When it affects the head and neck, it can lead to difficulties with swallowing and speech.

Lymphoedema arises from issues within the lymphatic system, a complex network of vessels and glands distributed throughout the body.

This system primarily functions to combat infection and drain excess fluid from tissues. Cancer treatment can be a trigger for lymphoedema, as noted by the NHS.

Hannah Fry (Credit: Pinterest)

Hannah’s cervical cancer diagnosis followed a routine smear test biopsy. In her BBC documentary, she recounted doctors discovering a tumor the size of a gobstopper.

She said the day was a “total out-of-body experience”. She told the publication:

“Really honestly, when you’re in that position – it doesn’t matter whether you have a PhD in mathematics or you dropped out of school aged 12: every single person is just frightened about their future, thinking about their family and the people that they love.”

Following her diagnosis, Hannah embarked on producing the BBC documentary “Making Sense of Cancer with Hannah Fry,” shedding light on her journey and the intricacies of cancer screening and treatment.

Subsequently, she faced an uncertain wait for scan results to assess the cancer’s spread, which proved inconclusive.

Advised to undergo a radical hysterectomy, removing her uterus and pelvic lymph nodes, Hannah braced herself for the procedure.

Post-surgery, she received the sobering news that four or five lymph nodes were swollen, signaling cancer infiltration into the lymphatic system.

Despite grappling with the gravity of the situation, Hannah remained resilient. Isolated in the hospital due to COVID-19 precautions, she navigated the ordeal alone.

Two weeks later, scans delivered a glimmer of hope, confirming the success of the surgery.