Robert Peston reveals why late wife hated the phrase ‘fighting cancer’

Robert Peston reveals his late wife hated the phrase ‘beating’ cancer – as Catastrophe star Rob Delaney agrees that ‘it’s not about fighting’ after losing his two-year-old son to the disease

  • Robert Peston said his wife Sian ‘did not find idea of cancer as enemy helpful’
  • His wife Sian, who was a novelist, died from lung cancer aged 51 in 2012
  • Peston’s comments were echoed by Rob Delaney, whose son died of cancer 

Robert Peston has revealed how his late wife Sian Busby hated the phrases ‘fighting’ or ‘beating cancer’, despite being ‘always optimistic’. 

The broadcaster, 58, explained that his wife – who died from lung cancer aged 51 in 2012 – ‘did not find the idea of cancer as the enemy especially helpful’. 

His comments were echoed by Catastrophe star Rob Delaney, whose two-year-old son Henry died from cancer in January.

Posting on Twitter, the actor, 41, said: ‘My son Henry was a bad motherf*****; it’s not about fighting. 

Robert Peston has revealed how his late wife Sian Busby hated the phase ‘fighting cancer’, despite being ‘always optimistic’ 

The broadcaster explained that his wife – who died from lung cancer aged 51 in 2012 – ‘did not find the idea of cancer as the enemy especially helpful’ 

‘Our family’s acknowledgement of reality allowed Henry to die peacefully at home. He was so happy in his final weeks.’

Their comments come after Macmillan Cancer Support said that patients being told to ‘fight’ cancer can be ‘unhelpful’ and ‘exhausting’.

Research found that the pressure to stay positive was preventing honest conversations about dying. 

Sharing an article about the study on Twitter, Peston commented: ‘My late wife Siân Busby always hated the metaphor of “fighting” cancer or “beating” it. 

Catastrophe star Rob Delaney, whose two-year-old son Henry died from cancer in January, agreed that it is ‘not about fighting’ 

Delaney said his family’s ‘acknowledgement of reality allowed Henry to die peacefully at home’

He later praised palliative care, describing it as ‘one of the greatest things human beings can offer each other’  

‘She was always optimistic. And never fatalistic. And endured hideous treatments and operations. But she did not find the idea of cancer as the enemy especially helpful.’

Responding to the broadcaster’s tweet, Delaney wrote: ‘Thank you Robert.’

He later added: ‘Palliative care is one of the greatest things human beings can offer each other. 

‘I’m still in early stages of grief but when I think of the beautiful, loving palliative care our son received, I feel some peace.’

Delaney’s son Henry had surgery to remove a brain tumour following his diagnosis in 2016, but the cancer returned in the autumn of 2017. 

Delaney, 41, confirmed that his son Henry (pictured shortly before his death) had died in January, after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 

The toddler’s devastated father confirmed his son’s death in a Facebook post last February, telling fans he would ‘endeavour to not go mad with grief’.  

Peston has previously described being ‘scandalised’ by the lack of money spent on researching cures for lung cancer, following the death of wife Sian.

Speaking to the Radio Times in 2015, he said: ‘Sian never smoked in her life. But because there is this perception that you bring lung cancer on yourself because you’re a smoker, it doesn’t get the funding that other cancers get.

‘Sian was ill for five years before she died and there were some very difficult times, but I didn’t ever expect her to die. So when she died it was the most terrible, terrible, terrible shock.’  

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