Dame Esther Rantzen confirms she’s considering assisted dying if lung cancer worsens

Dame Esther Rantzen has revealed she is considering going through assisted dying if her lung cancer diagnosis gets worse after undergoing “miracle” treatment”.

The 83 year old, who is best-known for presenting That's Life!, is currently undergoing treatment for stage four lung cancer and told the BBC that if the treatment does not work, she “might buzz off to Zurich” where assisted dying is legal.

Speaking on Radio 4's The Today podcast, the broadcaster said she didn’t think she would live to see this Christmas and labelled this festive season as “precious”.

Dame Esther spoke about her decision to join Swiss organisation Dignitas, a not-for-profit organisation that provides physician-assisted dying to relieve suffering. She said she was driven to join because she wanted her family’s last memories of her not to be “painful”.

She said: “Because if you watch someone you love having a bad death, that memory obliterates all the happy times". Assisted suicide is currently banned in England and has a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

Dame Esther continued and said that her family and friends could be put in a “difficult position” if she decided to have an assisted death at Dignitas, as she said: “They would want to go with me, and that means that the police might prosecute them". She added that her family will "support" her decision.

Dame Esther first revealed her cancer news in January this year. At the time, she released a statement which said: "In the last few weeks I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread. At the moment I am undergoing various tests, to assess the best treatment.

"I have decided not to keep this a secret anymore because I find it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise, and because I would rather you heard the facts from me."

Dame Esther has had a successful career as a journalist and broadcaster and is is also the founder of children’s charity Childline, which she established in 1986.

During her time working with the BBC, she met her TV producer husband Desmond Wilcox, who passed away in 2000.

She also appeared inI'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!in 2008 and lasted 16 days in the Australian jungle, finishing in eighth place.

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