Facebook's most senior European executive reveals that she has incurable blood cancer

Tim Whitby/Getty Images for Advertising WeekNicola Mendelsohn speaks during Advertising Week Europe in 2015.
  • Facebook’s most senior European executive was diagnosed with blood cancer in November 2016.
  • Nicola Mendelsohn’s cancer is slow growing and those affected can live for 10 years after diagnosis.
  • She said telling her children was the hardest moment of her life.

Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, has revealed that she has incurable blood cancer.

In an article for Sunday Times Magazine, Mendelsohn said she was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in November 2016. “It was a terrible shock. I didn’t even feel ill,” Mendelsohn wrote.

Mendelsohn said she discovered a small lump in her groin, which measured less than half a centimetre. A CT scan then showed that she had tumours all over her body from the disease.

The executive said her cancer is “slow growing” and that 60% of people suffering from lymphoma live for over 10 years following their diagnosis. She plans to begin chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatment if her symptoms worsen.

In her Sunday Times Magazine article, Mendelsohn described telling her children about her diagnosis.

“It is not a conversation I could ever have imagined having with them, not even in my worst nightmares, until it hit me in the face. It was the hardest moment of my life,” Mendelsohn wrote.

“Zac is our youngest and his first question was: ‘Are you going to die?’ That’s always the thought that comes into your head when you hear the word ‘cancer.'”

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