‘Love It or List It’ Star Hilary Farr Announces She Overcame Breast Cancer Privately

by Suzanne Halliburton
Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic

Hilary Farr, the popular co-host of Love It or List It, recently revealed that she survived a breast cancer ordeal that spanned several years.

And Farr, the long-time HGTV star, never revealed public details of her cancer battle until a recent interview with People magazine.

Farr now has a spinoff show from Love It or List It. Her show is called Tough Love with Hilary Farr.  It premieres Dec. 20 on HGTV.

Fans of Love It or List It know the show has been on in some form since 2008. It first was based in Canada, then started filming in North Carolina. Farr and co-host David Visentin are both Canadian. Visentin is a real estate agent, while Farr is an interior decorator.

The idea of Love It or List It is whether Farr can keep the homeowners from selling their house. Often times, the owners have grown out of their houses. Or, the homes are too old and need repair work. She redecorates and oversees the remodel. Meanwhile, Visentin finds a house that would fit the homeowners’ immediate needs. It’s a friendly competition between Hilary and David.

Farr Spent Three Years On Love It or List It Dealing with Cancer

But for a huge chunk of the Love It or List It run on HGTV, Farr was dealing with breast cancer.

The first instance was in 2012. According to People, Farr had a routine mammogram. It showed a suspicious lump. Doctors removed the lump and the tissue sample showed that it was benign, but considered pre-cancerous. “I felt so much relief,” the Love It or List It star said in the interview. “I moved on.” 

But breast cancer intervened again. In late 2014, another check showed that she was suffering from invasive breast cancer. That meant she disease had spread to surrounding tissue. By then, she was filming Love It or List It in North Carolina. She told People that she underwent another lumpectomy. And she said the oncologist told her she would need no further treatment.

“I was signed off by the medical oncologist saying, ‘You’re done. You’re fine. Off you go,’ ” Farr said.

But a few weeks into 2015, Farr said she learned that she also needed a course of radiation. She said the original oncologist told her it wasn’t needed.

“I was terrified,” the Love It or List It star told the magazine. “Because I knew I had a very small window (after surgery)”

“I felt absolute fury that someone could be so flippantly wrong,” Farr said. “I could have been dead.”

Farr Said Oncologist Retired a Year After Blunder

Farr won’t publicly name the doctor, only adding that he retired the next year. She underwent a four-week course of radiation. Then she had a third lumpectomy later in 2015. This time, the tissue was listed as pre-cancerous. She hasn’t had a problem since then and considered in remission.

Farr told People she was revealing her ordeal in hopes it will help other women.

“Fear of breast cancer stops a lot of women from getting checked.” she said. “But as terrifying as it is, you face it.

“Thinking that you should keep it a secret or just power through doesn’t help, and it doesn’t heal. If I can change that for one person, then that’s enough.” 

The Love It or List It star filmed eight episodes of her new show.