Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Former Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins on how shock brain tumour diagnosis ‘destroyed’ her life

Sue Perkins appearing on Desert Island Discs (Amanda Benson/BBC/PA Wire)
Sue Perkins appearing on Desert Island Discs (Amanda Benson/BBC/PA Wire)

FORMER Bake Off host Sue Perkins has told how she “destroyed” her life “from the inside out” after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The presenter, 47, revealed the tumour two years ago, but has only now revealed the “epic destruction” it wreaked in her life, in an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

Perkins discovered the condition when she undertook blood tests as part of TV show The Supersizers.

Discussing the moment she found out about it while presenting the BBC show, in which she ate unusual food and took medical tests to see what impact the diet had on her, Perkins said: “In this small, very clinical white side-room, this woman said ‘your bloods are very awry and you have a brain tumour’.

“There’s always a delay for me. It’s only really now that I consider the epic destruction this tiny little rice-shaped thing in my pituitary gland has caused.”

Perkins said she responded to the diagnosis by saying “‘thank you very much’ … I didn’t want to know. I had a benign and extremely symptomatic brain tumour which then started to make its presence felt.”

When her specialist told her that she could not have children, it was the beginning of “a very dark time”. “I got diagnosed when I was 38. By the time I was 40, I literally destroyed my life from the inside out,” she told Kirsty Young.

“It was only six months ago when I went for a second opinion and started medication.

“The second endocrinologist looked at my bloods and said: ‘But you must have behaved in ways that would confound people who loved you and you must have been in such unimaginable confusion and anxiety and delirium. Did you do something that you regret?’ and I just lost it.

“I always like to think that I’m accountable for everything I do, but I’ll never understand how I did some of the things that I did. I walked out of my life. I ended a relationship. I would one day be showing a hormone profile that was just zero, and the next day I’d be completely normal.

“It’s taken this time to look at the wreckage and to piece it together and to say sorry and make amends and be healthy and to be better.”

Perkins, now in a relationship with Naked Attraction presenter Anna Richardson, revealed that her father – who later died – was diagnosed with a non-benign, terminal tumour.

It made the star realise she had to get her life back on track. “The best thing I can do to honour him is to get myself sorted to at least make myself right,” she said. Perkins also told the Radio 4 show that she wanted to “throw up” when she realised she was gay.

“I wasn’t eating and sleeping. I didn’t know what was wrong and a friend said ‘you’re in love’,” she said.

She also drank too much in her twenties to overcome her shyness.

“I got a stomach ulcer. I’m grateful to that stomach ulcer because I think it was too easy to be that drunk and I’m not sure that I would have escaped its clutches.”

Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, today, 11.15am and available to listen again on BBC iPlayer