Broadcaster Julia Bradbury said it was a “big decision” to film her breast cancer journey but was “delighted” the film had encouraged people to seek support.
The number of people who called Breast Cancer Now’s free helpline following Bradbury’s ITV documentary Breast Cancer And Me increased by 21%, compared with the same week a year earlier.
At the time of the broadcast, there was also a 78% increase in visits to the charity’s website, compared to the same time on the previous day.
The hour-long film, which aired on April 28, followed Bradbury as she came to terms with her diagnosis and prepared to undergo a single mastectomy.
The TV presenter, 51, said she filmed the documentary to “raise awareness of the devastating disease” and to help those affected by breast cancer to “feel less alone”.
She said: “It was never the documentary that I wanted to make, but before my breast cancer diagnosis was confirmed, I had started charting the discovery of a lump in my left breast on social media and in the press, to encourage women (and men) to check themselves and attend screening programmes if they were offered.
“It was a big decision to go on to make such a personal film, especially when my family and I were going through so much, but my motivation was to raise awareness of this devastating disease, and I hoped that by giving an open and honest account of my experiences I could help others affected by breast cancer to feel less alone.
“I’m proud of the film, the team have done a brilliant job capturing the emotional and psychological impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on a family, and I know that Breast Cancer And Me has helped other people on their own breast cancer journeys – and it’s helped friends and family understand the complexities of getting a cancer diagnosis, and the profound impact it has on your life.
“I’m delighted that the documentary has prompted more people to seek information and support from Breast Cancer Now’s helpline and website, and that it moved people to set up regular donations to the charity in response to its advert that aired in the commercial break of my documentary.”
The former Countryfile star underwent a mastectomy in October, during which her breast as well as two lymph glands were removed before reconstruction took place.
Rachael Franklin, director of fundraising, communications and engagement at Breast Cancer Now, said: “While everyone’s experience of breast cancer will be different, we’re so grateful that through Breast Cancer And Me Julia has shone a spotlight on topics that women contact us for support around every day, such as treatment options, mastectomies, reconstruction and how to talk to children about breast cancer.
“Sharing her experience, Julia prompted more women to reach out to us for information and support via our website and our helpline.”