The TV documentary that saved this woman from cancer

When Brigid Broekhoven signed up to Tv3′s ‘Doctor in the House’ programme, she had no idea it would end in a cancer diagnosis.

FOR A LOT of us, a visit to the doctors comes with a feeling dread.

The anxious waiting and discomfort can be enough to stop many of us limit from visiting our GPs.

For Brigid Broekhoven – receiving medical attention as part of a television documentary was lifesaving.

On tonight’s episode of Tv3 documentary series ‘Doctor in the House’, it is shown how early detection of a mass on Brigid’s kidney allowed vital action to be taken.

Doctor in The House on TV3 Brigid and Lizzy Broekhoven Tv3 Tv3


The Broekhovens, from Blackrock in Dublin, had initially signed up to take part in the programme to deal with Brigid’s weight gain and Lizzy’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

While undergoing a routine CT scan as part of the programme – the growth on 50-year-old Brigid’s kidney was discovered.

This discovery allowed her to receive urgent surgery, initially to remove the growth, and later, after it was discovered to be cancerous, to remove her entire kidney.

Doctor in the House on TV3 Broekhovens and doctors Tv3 Tv3

Speaking to, Brigid described how she came to be interested in being on the programme: 

“I was coming up to my 50th birthday, and my dad had sadly passed away at 50 from heart disease. Heart disease and bowel cancer are two conditions that are prominent in my family. I was very aware that my diet was poor,” said Brigid.

In terms of general well being I did have a drink problem, a long time ago, and I was worried about the damage that could have done. Even though I’ve been thankfully sober for 12 years at this stage.

For Brigid the scariest part of her condition was that it could have easily gone undetected.

The very scary element is that there was no symptoms to it. I wouldn’t of been looking for it – without a doubt, the programme definitely intervened at the right time.

In Brigid’s case, the necessary action taken to remove her kidney has proven effective. While the cancer she had developed was an unusual one, it was of a lower grade and less aggressive than it could have been.

Brigid is now cancer-free and does not require further medical treatment.


In the course of the programme Brigid’s daughter Lizzy also made some shocking discoveries about her own health. Doctors advised 20-year-old Lizzy to change her diet to avoid the health complications that run in her family.

Doctor in the House on TV3 Lizzy Broekhoven finishing on track Tv3 Tv3

The advice given was to deal with Lizzy’s high levels of cholesterol. Once Brigid went into hospital – Lizzy was required to carry on with the health reform on her own.

National problem

For Brigid the eating habits in her own family are not untypical of the average Irish family. For her, issues with diet are something that need to be taken more seriously on a national level:

I think we were probably quite typical of many families with our eating habits. It is certainly something we have to look at as a nation – people are getting fatter – people are online more – there is a lot more sedentary activities. Things are different than they might of been years ago.

‘Doctor in the House’ will be on Tv3 this evening at 9pm. 

Read: “Superhero” four-year-old Gavin Glynn has passed away

Also: What’s the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

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