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Blanche D'Alpuget was ready to give up when she got breast cancer - and what ...

Bob Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget has opened up about her devastating breast cancer diagnosis less than a year after the death of her 'soulmate'.

In February, just nine months after the former prime minister died, the 76-year-old discovered a lump about the size of a 10c piece in her left breast.

Ms d'Alpuget said her doctor immediately sent her to get scans done.

'I could tell from the woman's face while she as doing it that the news wasn't good,' she exclusively told Stellar magazine.

The lump was stage two cancer, with a few other stage one tumours surrounding it. 

The shock diagnosis so soon after Mr Hawke's death left her ready to give up, admitting she even considered 'letting herself die from it'.

But the thought of her son made her determined to fight. 

Bob Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget revealed she was ready to give up and die when she was diagnosed with breast cancer less than a year after the death of her 'soulmate'

Bob Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget revealed she was ready to give up and die when she was diagnosed with breast cancer less than a year after the death of her 'soulmate'

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke died on May 16, 2019. The couple are pictured together in 2013

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke died on May 16, 2019. The couple are pictured together in 2013

'I thought, "Bob's dead, I've finished eight years' work, I've had a wonderful life. That's it." But it was really only the thought of my son – and I knew he'd be very upset,' she said through tears.

She quickly embarked on eight weeks of chemotherapy to shrink the tumour before she underwent intense surgery to remove the lumps. 

Ms d'Alpuget now calls herself lucky for finding the cancer so early one. 

Bob Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget has been battling breast cancer

Bob Hawke's widow Blanche d'Alpuget has been battling breast cancer 

Ms d'Alpuget was so sick from the chemo she was forced to stay in bed for days after each treatment, bedridden with nausea, exhaustion and even bleeding. 

Shortly before surgery in April she revealed her battle for the first time to the media with the hopes of warning other women to make sure they check for cancer.

'You never think you're going to get cancer — not at my age, but it happens. I'd like to encourage all older women to have their checked. I found the lump by accident,' she said at the time. 

'It really is an epidemic and I have to admit I had been quite foolish: I'd had one mammogram years ago. It hurt and I've never had another one.' 

In the horrific surgery the tumours were removed and the 76-year-old's breast was reconstructed using body fat across her stomach.

Three surgeons worked on her for eight-and-a-half hours and she ended up in the Intensive Care Unit for four days with a blood pressure of 40.

Mr Hawke married Ms d'Alpuget in 1995 after splitting from his wife of 38 years. The Hawke family is pictured during the 1987 election campaign. Daughter Sue is cradling her daughter Sophie, Mr Hawke's wife Hazel is next to him and daughter Rosslyn is next to her

Mr Hawke married Ms d'Alpuget in 1995 after splitting from his wife of 38 years. The Hawke family is pictured during the 1987 election campaign. Daughter Sue is cradling her daughter Sophie, Mr Hawke's wife Hazel is next to him and daughter Rosslyn is next to her 

Former prime minister Bob Hawke did not leave a cent to the three children he raised with first wife Hazel in his will - a copy of which has been obtained by Daily Mail Australia. Mr Hawke's entire estate went to his second wife and former mistress Blanche d'Alpuget. (Both pictured)

Former prime minister Bob Hawke did not leave a cent to the three children he raised with first wife Hazel in his will - a copy of which has been obtained by Daily Mail Australia. Mr Hawke's entire estate went to his second wife and former mistress Blanche d'Alpuget. (Both pictured)

Ms d'Alpuget said if it weren't for the ICU and being pumped 'full of drugs' to stabilise her blood pressure, she would have died.

Since the surgery she was told the operation was a success and is now undergoing immunotherapy which will 'recognise cancer cells and jump on them'.

The cancer diagnosis came just two months before Mr Hawke's daughter Rosslyn Dillon, 59, had a legal stoush with the 76-year-old over the former prime minister's estate.

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Ms d'Alpuget faced her stepdaughter for a private mediation on May 7 - less than two weeks before the first anniversary of Mr Hawke's death.

That case revealed friction between 59-year-old Ms Dillon and 76-year-old Ms d'Alpuget but was settled out of court in

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