Founder of KPPR Katie Phillips launches new podcast about her ongoing cancer journey
Talking With Cancer is a weekly podcast hosted by two friends, Katie Phillips, who has cancer and Clair Whitefield, who doesn’t.
In February 2022, at 43 years old and with no prior health issues or concerns, Katie was told that she had thyroid cancer. It’s a type of thyroid papillary cancer known as hobnail, with a ROS1 fusion. The doctors said that her diagnosis was “rare” and “complicated” – not words that Katie wanted to hear in the same sentence.
In the early weeks following her diagnosis, she decided to keep an audio diary of her journey and immediately thought of her good friend Clair.
With Clair’s background in journalism, and Katie’s career in PR (she set up entertainment PR agency KPPR in 2011), they were the perfect match, and recorded their weekly conversations over zoom.
‘Talking With Cancer’ gives insight into Katie’s life with cancer, her treatment and how she’s experiencing her world now that – in her own words – “everything has changed and nothing has changed”.
The chats between Katie and Clair can often be poignant and hard-hitting, but with Clair’s compassionate and inquisitive approach complimenting Katie’s can-do, positive outlook towards life with cancer, the episodes are always cathartic, inspiring, and more often than not, very funny too (thanks to the weekly ‘mum cancer jokes’)!
Whether it’s tackling the more challenging topics that arise from facing life with cancer, or the lighter moments encountered on the journey – “never moisturise before an echocardiogram” – each week, the podcast offers something for everyone, as we are all, in some way, affected by cancer.
Katie said: “I wanted to keep a record of what I was going through because I thought time would move fast and I’d forget what was happening week to week. I also thought, rather than relaying my progress to all my friends and family one by one, which I found exhausting and stressful, I would send them a recording each week of my conversation with Clair.
“I find our chats really cathartic. I look forward to our conversation and I always feel I can close the week’s chapter once we’ve spoken. Clair is just brilliant at guiding the conversation and making me feel understood and in safe hands”
Clair added: “When I first found about Katie’s diagnosis, I couldn’t pinpoint anything that felt like the right way to express that I’d be there for her. Doing this podcast has been my way to support Katie, in a way that feels steadfast and useful.
“We’ve always talked; and baked into every episode is the trust, jokes and honesty that come from 20 odd years of friendship. For everyone who listens in, I hope our podcast gives you a twinkle of what it’s given me; an insight on how to navigate the unknown with wisdom and humour, bravery and curiosity. It’s been an utter bloody privilege.”
Talking With Cancer is available to listen to on all podcast platforms, with weekly episodes released on Tuesdays.