Dame Esther Rantzen lung cancer: Presenter believes she may have got disease due to asbestos in BBC buildings
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Dame Esther Rantzen has reportedly said that her lung cancer could have been caused by asbestos in BBC buildings. The TV presenter’s cancer is now at stage four and she has kept fans up to date throughout her journey.
The 83-year-old spent a large portion of her glittering career in BBC buildings, such as the Shepherd’s Bush studios Lime Grove, where That’s Life was based, a show she fronted for around two decades. Speaking of life since her diagnosis in January, Dame Esther said: “I’m making the most of each day, usually by sitting in my garden... enjoying the fresh air, the birds and the summer flowers.
“And occasionally wondering whether my particular brand of lung cancer was caused by all the asbestos in the BBC building I worked in for decades – or by the air pollution I walked and drove through during my many years as a Londoner. But in my 80s, I knew I had to die of something.”
Mesothelioma is a cancer associated especially with exposure to asbestos, but it is not known if Dame Esther has this cancer. Smoking has been ruled out to be the cause, but air pollution and asbestos have not.
Prolonged exposure and inhalation of asbestos particles allows tiny fibres to stick to the insides of the lungs, but the impact of this can take as long as 20 years to show. The use of asbestos was banned in 1999.