Labour MP Wes Streeting admits he has 'survivor's guilt'
Labour MP Wes Streeting admits he has ‘survivor’s guilt’ after beating kidney cancer – while others like Dame Deborah James had an ‘unhappy ending’
- Speaking on Lorraine, Ilford North MP admitted that he feels ‘survivor’s guilt’
- READ MORE: Dame Deborah James’s mother shares a heartfelt message
Wes Streeting has opened up about the ‘survivor’s guilt’ he feels over his kidney cancer battle as he spoke about his experience on the anniversary of Dame Deborah James’s death.
Talking on Lorraine, the Labour Party MP got candid about going through treatment during the pandemic and seeing incredible people, including Margaret McDonagh, die from the illness.
The politician, 40 – who was declared cancer-free in 2021 – admitted stories about the disease ‘hit differently now’.
Reflecting on the loss of Dame Deborah, known as Bowel Babe – who died at the age of 40 in June 2022, five years after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer – Wes said he struggles to grapple with the feelings it arises.
‘In particular stories like Deborah’s where it had an unhappy ending,’ he said.
The politician, 40 (pictured) – who was declared cancer-free in 2021 – admitted stories about the disease ‘hit differently now’
‘I think I’ve, to an extent, a degree of survivor’s guilt because you think “well why was I OK and why wasn’t she?”.
‘And a dear friend of mine Margaret McDonagh – the first woman to be General Secretary of the the Labour Party – she died from brain cancer just the other day and it hit me really hard because she’s a friend and one of my political heroes.
‘And you think, why is it there are 3,500 people like Margaret each year who are diagnosed with that brain cancer and there’s no hope of a cure. It’s a death sentence.’
Wes stressed that he ‘genuinely felt lucky about his diagnosis’.
The Ilford North MP was admitted to hospital in March 2021 with pain from a kidney stone, before a scan revealed a malignant tumour on the same kidney.
Two months later, the then 38-year-old went into hospital in London for a day-long biopsy, followed by three days of cancer treatment.
He was on his own throughout because of tough pandemic restrictions.
‘I might’ve been 38. It might’ve been really rare and unusual but I knew that I wasn’t going to die,’ he told Lorraine Kelly today.
Reflecting on the loss of Dame Deborah (pictured), known as Bowel Babe – who died at the age of 40 in June 2022, five years after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer – Wes said he struggles to grapple with the feelings it arises
The Ilford North MP was admitted to hospital in March 2021 with pain from a kidney stone, before a scan revealed a malignant tumour on the same kid. Pictured on Lorraine today
‘I had one of the best kidney cancer surgeons in the world through the NHS the one thing I didn’t have to worry about was the bill.’
Wes added he had ‘amazing nurses looking after him’.
‘The pandemic did make it hard because I remember going into the… hospital where the surgery happened – I don’t think I’ve ever felt so lonely in my life…
‘Leaving joe, my partner and my dad…
‘But what have I got to complain about? I’m here, I’m healthy, I’m cancer-free and I came back from it running even faster and working even harder because I have this zest for life.’
The MP has a new book about his life and upbringing – called One Boy, Two Bills and a Fry Up – coming out.
The Ilford North MP was admitted to hospital in March 2021 with pain from a kidney stone, before a scan revealed a malignant tumour on the same kidney
Two months later, the then 38-year-old went into hospital in London for a day-long biopsy, followed by three days of cancer treatment
Margaret McDonagh (pictured) who was Labour’s first female general secretary has died at the age of 61
In it, he opens up about his childhood and working-class background.
Last week the Shadow Health Secretary was among many mourning the loss of Margaret McDonagh who was Labour’s first female general secretary has died at the age of 61.
‘For the rest of my life I will feel blessed to have known Margaret McDonagh,’ he tweeted.
‘Labour’s first woman general secretary and the best of the best. Utterly integral to Labour’s 1997 victory and what it delivered. Sending so much love to Siobhain and all who knew and love this icon.’
Her death comes as earlier this year, her sister Siobhain McDonagh, Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, gave a House of Commons speech in which she accused the NHS of ‘abandoning’ her sister as she was treated for brain cancer.
She fought back tears as she criticised the lack of progress on brain cancer treatment since 2005 in the NHS and explained her sister was on a course of treatment which involved a monthly four-day trip to Dusseldorf, Germany.
She said that Baroness McDonagh had the tumour removed during surgery at the Royal National Neurological Hospital just before Christmas, but only after the operation was cancelled by the NHS three times prior.
Baroness McDonagh was described as an ‘unstoppable force of nature’ and a ‘tireless champion for women’ as tributes were paid to her today.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer hailed her ‘absolutely essential’ role as election co-ordinator in the party’s 1997 general election victory.
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