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Esther Rantzen considering ending her life as she doesn't want family to see her 'bad death'

Esther Rantzen considering ending her life as she doesn't want family to see her 'bad death'

The television presenter has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in May

TV presenting legend Esther Rantzen had her life turned upside down earlier this year when she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

The on-screen star - best known for hosting the BBC consumer show That's Life! for 21 years - revealed her cancer had developed to the most advanced stage in May.

And opening up about her illness this week, the 83-year-old star has admitted she's considering ending her life on her own terms - by visiting the Swiss clinic Dignitas - to prevent her family seeing the cancer consume their final memories of her.

Speaking on the BBC Today podcast, the widely-adored Dame told her listeners: "I have joined Dignitas.

"I thought, well, if the next scan says nothing’s working I might buzz off to Zurich but it puts my family and friends in a difficult position as they would want to go with me."

She went on: "The police might prosecute them. My family say it’s my choice. I explained to them that I don’t want their last memories of me to be painful.

Dame Esther is battling stage 4 lung cancer.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

"If you watch someone you love having a bad death, that memory obliterates all the happy times."

Rantzen previously called for a free vote on assisted dying to allow terminally ill people to pass away on their own terms.

She said on the popular podcast it's what she'd do if she was made Prime Minister, explaining: "It’s important the law catches up with what the country wants."

Assisted suicide is banned in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

Dame Esther said, however, that the thought of her being reunited with her late loved ones after undergoing euthanasia is a promising thought for her family.

Dame Esther is one of the BBC's longest-standing TV presenters.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

She also admitted on the podcast that she never expected to make it all the way to Christmas, after previously being unsure she'd see her last birthday in June.

"I’ve got to drop off my perch for some reason, and I’m 83, so I should be grateful and I am," she laughed.

"Anything can happen, I live in a forest, a tree can fall on me."

If you’ve been affected by issues surrounding suicide and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123.

Or if you’ve been affected by issues surrounding cancer, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week.

Featured Image Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Topics: TV And Film, Health