Nick Clegg reveals son Antonio's secret battle with cancer

Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam have today revealed their 14-year-old has had a secret battle with blood cancer
  • Antonio Clegg, now 15, diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in neck and chest
  • After several rounds of chemotherapy and 20 tablets a day he has the all clear
  • Parents are supporting charity Bloodwise and blood cancer awareness money

Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam have today revealed their eldest child has had a secret battle with blood cancer aged 14.

Their son Antonio was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma in his neck and his chest in September last year after noticing a suspicious lump.

After several rounds of chemotherapy and taking up to 20 tablets including steroids every day, he has been given the all clear. 

The Cleggs ahve three sons, Antonio, now 15,  Alberto, 13, and eight -year-old Miguel.

Mr and Mrs Clegg appeared on ITV's Lorraine show today to raise awareness about Hodgkin Lymphoma.

WHAT IS HODGKIN LYMPHOMA?

Hodgkin lymphoma is an uncommon cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands spread throughout the body.

The lymphatic system is part of the immune system.

Clear fluid called lymph flows through the lymphatic vessels and contains infection-fighting white blood cells, known as lymphocytes.

In Hodgkin lymphoma, B-lymphocytes (a particular type of lymphocyte) start to multiply in an abnormal way and begin to collect in certain parts of the lymphatic system, such as the lymph nodes (glands).

The affected lymphocytes lose their infection-fighting properties, making sufferers more vulnerable to infection.

The most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless swelling in a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin.

Hodgkin lymphoma can develop at any age, but it mostly affects young adults in their early 20s and older adults over the age of 70. Slightly more men than women are affected.

Around 1,900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in the UK each year.

Source: NHS Choices 

The former Liberal Democrat leader said: 'You have this almost physical wish to try and take it off your kid and take it yourself.

'You very quickly move from the shock, to trying to support your child as they’re battling through this very heavy treatment'.

Hodgkin Lymphoma affects around 2000 people every year in the UK and is most common among the elderly and young adults. 

In a joint article for charity Bloodwise the couple said: 'Like all parents who have a child diagnosed with cancer, our first reaction was an overwhelming, if irrational, wish to take the cancer away from him and take it on ourselves.

'Antonio had four monthly cycles of chemotherapy, undertook a course of very heavy steroids and was prescribed a barrage of medication including antibiotics and pills to tackle nausea. At one point his treatment meant he was taking over 20 tablets per day.

'The side effects that he experienced were what you would expect, including complete hair loss, vomiting and extreme tiredness. At one point he was neutropenic, meaning that his body had no defences against possible infection.

'But by the end, the treatment appears to have had exactly the effect we hoped for: Antonio is free of cancer, and his regular three-monthly checks have detected no return of the disease'.

Hundreds of people with Hodgkin Lymphoma die each year.

The couple said: 'We know how lucky our family has been. The experience of being a cancer patient changes a person forever, even if they make a full recovery. We are immensely grateful to everyone who helped Antonio. That is why we are proud to support the work of Bloodwise'. 

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By World Staff Writer 09/13/2017 04:30:00
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