Her comments come as this week it was revealed 11,000 people in the UK could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer due to the lockdown. Deborah – who is part of the BBC Radio 5 live podcast You, Me and the Big C – has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock about their plans for cancer care. So far, they have failed to reply. She said: “We are still picking up the pieces from last March because people have heard the message to stay at home.
“I heard the news that 11,000 people are sat at home with undiagnosed breast cancer and an advert on the radio warning people to visit their doctor if they were worried about cancer.
“Then I heard an advert which said, ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’ – and I’m thinking, hang on, this is contrasting messages here.
“The next thing to happen is that the system will be overloaded again in terms of cancer care.
“The collateral is going to be huge and devastating and I simply don’t buy it when the Government says, ‘We’re sorry, this is the absolute best we can do’.
“I appreciate the focus has been to get the vaccine out to squash coronavirus numbers, but every cancer charity is now calling for the collateral of cancer not to be forgotten.”
The 39-year-old says occasions like Mother’s Day are tough. She says she can never envisage the day when she is no longer around for her children, Hugo, 13, Eloise, 11, and husband Sebastian.
“I never know until the day how I am going to feel. I’ve had good Mother’s Days and bad Mother’s Days,” she says candidly.
“It’s hard because I can’t say, ‘Right, I’m going to be really happy on this day’. It brings up lots of different emotions. I can sometimes put a lot of pressure on myself to be like, ‘Right I must make this really good, it might be my last’. When it’s a big occasion it can make you feel really emotional but, if I am feeling rubbish I have to tell myself, ‘It’s OK to feel this way’.”
Having recently had the coronavirus vaccine, Deborah is due to celebrate her 40th birthday in October and plans to run the London Marathon the same weekend. She said: “I have never pictured myself at 40 because I was told I wouldn’t make it. But now I am looking at venues for my 40th and I would love to have a big party because I can.
“At heart I am a 39-year-old girl who really likes to party and I just want to get the glad rags on and have a good knees-up really.”
Deborah has undergone gruelling radiotherapy and chemotherapy and has had 11 operations to keep her alive.
Supporting a campaign for greeting card company Thortful to raise £110,000 for NHS Charities Together, she reveals how amazing staff at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London have been.
Early last year she declared she was “cancer free”, but scans revealed her cancer had returned and after having radiotherapy she had an operation last November.
She is anxiously awaiting her next scan. Deborah said: “The past 12 months have been an absolute roller-coaster. I will always have to manage my cancer, but there’s a big difference with thinking it’s under control versus it running out of control.
I have to just carry on with the drugs every day. I live from scan to scan. It will never leave me.”
• Thortful says 5p of every Mother’s Day card and £5 of every rainbow bouquet is donated to NHS Charities Together. The target is to raise £110,000.