HGTV’s Hilary Farr opened up for the first time about the alarming health situation she kept to herself while filming her home-renovation show “Love It or List It”.
In 2012, after a routine mammogram, Farr was told by doctors a suspicious lump was discovered. The Canadian designer immediately underwent surgery and test results proved the tumour to be pre-cancerous, rather than malignant. “I felt so much relief,” Farr told People magazine. “I moved on.”
However, this was only the beginning of Farr’s health battle.
Farr, now 70, was filming the show in Raleigh, North Carolina, near the end of 2014 when a mammogram identified a more somber diagnosis. The TV star had invasive breast cancer after a tumour had spread around breast tissue. Farr underwent a second lumpectomy and recalled that after the procedure, “[she] was signed off by the medical oncologist saying, ‘You’re done. You’re fine. Off you go.'”
After nearly two months, Farr was shocked to learn that radiation was supposed to be part of her treatment plan but was misinformed by the medical oncologist that it was unnecessary. “I was terrified, because I knew I had a very small window,” she said.
The fear quickly turned into anger.
“I felt absolute fury that someone could be so flippantly wrong,” said Farr. “I could have been dead.”
The TV host revealed that she filed a complaint and the oncologist retired a year later.
In March 2015 Farr began a 28-day course of radiation and to her surprise, just seven months later, doctors caught another unusual breast growth. A third lumpectomy took place and the tumour was declared pre-cancerous. Farr is now in remission.
The HGTV personality is finally sharing her story with hopes of helping others.
“Fear of breast cancer stops a lot of women from getting checked. But as terrifying as it is, you face it,” she explained, emphasizing that people shouldn’t have to deal with an illness alone like she did.
“Thinking that you should keep it a secret or just power through doesn’t help and it doesn’t heal,” she added. “If I can change that for one person, then that’s enough.”
Farr has a new home renovation series “Tough Love with Hilary Farr” that premieres on HGTV Dec. 20.