Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, who live in Putney, have spoken about their son’s blood cancer diagnosis for the first time.

Speaking on ITV’s Lorraine show this morning (Wednesday, September 13), they told how their eldest son Antonio, now 15, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma last year after discovering a “small, painless” lump in his neck.

An ultrasound scan and biopsy revealed stage two lymphoma, and Antonio was treated with four monthly cycles of chemotherapy, a course of heavy steroids, and several courses of medication.

The couple, speaking ahead of tonight’s launch of a report by blood cancer research charity Bloodwise, said that their first reaction to their son’s diagnosis was an “overwhelming wish” to take the cancer away from Antonio and take it on themselves.

In their written preface to the Bloodwise report, entitled ‘Childhood blood cancer: the quest for a kinder cure’, they say that Antonio was taking up to 20 tablets per day, and that this treatment resulted in complete hair loss, vomiting and extreme fatigue.

However, the side effects described by Antonio are said to not be unusual, and the Bloodwise report highlights the need for more research to find better, less toxic treatments for children.

Bloodwise say that blood cancer is the most common cancer among children and young people, and over 1,100 under-24s are diagnosed every year in the UK, usually either with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia or Hodgkin lymphoma.

In addition, current childhood blood cancer treatment is “brutal” and can last for years, in addition to hair loss, vomiting, and fatigue.

This can result in extended periods away from school, isolation, infertility, and an increased risk of further cancer in adulthood.

Dr Alasdair, director of research at Bloodwise, said: “The reality is that one in five children diagnosed with the most common type of leukaemia still do not survive, and that those who do often experience devastating side effects both during and after treatment.

“This is simply not good enough. We need to save every child’s life, make the treatment process much kinder and give them the life they would have had without cancer.

“Only by funding more research into better treatments will we be able to finish the job that has been started and give children the best possible cancer treatment.”

The report will be launched tonight at the Wellcome Collection in Euston Road, NW1 2BE.

To watch the interview, click here.

To view the report, click here.

To find out more about Bloodwise, visit: