Nick Clegg opens up about his teenage son's secret battle with cancer

Nick Clegg and wife

Nick Clegg and wife

Former deputy PM Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez have revealed their eldest son has been battling blood cancer.

Speaking on ITV's Lorraine show, they told how their eldest son Antonio, now 15, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma a year ago, after finding a small, painless lump in his neck.

"'The day that he was told, and I think that probably us telling him is one of the toughest things that we have ever done, the following day he went to school, he stood up and he told everybody 'I have cancer".

'That's the way he dealt with it but other children and other families deal with it in a different way, you have to find your way'.

Speaking about his reaction to the diagnosis, Mr Clegg said: 'Certainly if you are unfamiliar with it, as we were, and your initial reaction, I think, we found, was like any mum and dad, it's irrational, but you just have this nearly physical wish to try and take it off your kid and take it yourself.

The politician also detailed how his son was concerned about falling behind at school, despite having to endure very tough treatments.

Mr Clegg, a former MP and ex-Liberal Democrat leader, told ITV's Lorraine Kelly: "His lymphoma was all over his chest and his neck and he gets tested every three months, I think for a couple of years, so there is always a slight spike of anxiety with us every three months but basically he is on the road to recovery". So it was very impressive actually'.

An ultrasound scan and biopsy revealed stage two lymphoma, and Antonio was treated with four monthly cycles of chemotherapy, a course of heavy steroids, and several courses of medication. The couple were speaking ahead of tonight's launch of a major report by blood cancer research charity Bloodwise, entitled Childhood blood cancer; the quest for a kinder cure.

'At one point his treatment meant he was taking over 20 tablets per day.

Speaking about their son's care, the couple said, "The treatment he received in the NHS at the teenage cancer unit at UCLH was superb".