Former History President & BBC TV Chief Jana Bennett Reveals Brain Tumor Battle

Jana Bennett
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Jana Bennett, the former History president and BBC television chief, has revealed that she is receiving treatment for a fast-growing brain tumor.

Bennett discussed her glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) diagnosis in an interview with London newspaper The Evening Standard, during which she announced that she has become a trustee of OurBrainBank, a cancer research app allowing GBM patients to share their symptoms with clinicians.

Bennett told the Standard that her treatment with the UK’s National Health Service is “going well” after she was diagnosed with GBM earlier this year. She praised the work of OurBrainBank founder and chair Jessica Morris for helping “further research into the disease” so that treatment can be improved.

Bennett said: “The treatment I have had in the NHS — a brilliant surgeon, kind and precise radiologists, etc. isn’t the end of the story but the beginning. Increasingly the focus for brain tumors — as well as other hard-to-treat cancers — goes beyond surgery and the radio- and chemotherapy. It now involves understanding the molecular genetics so that drugs and therapies can be tailored and targeted, moving towards more personalized treatment.”

British-born Bennett stepped down as History president and general manager in 2017 after 20 months in the job and almost four years at A+E Networks. She launched London and New York-based production company JebRoc Media in 2018 and became an advisor at OZY Media, which made Black Women OWN the Conversation for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Prior to her time at A+E Networks, Bennett had a long spell at the BBC where she oversaw the British broadcaster’s TV channels for more than eight years between 2002 and 2010. She then moved over to BBC Worldwide, now known as BBC Studios, as president of worldwide channels and global iPlayer.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons describes GBM as a “devastating brain cancer,” which typically results in death within 15 months of diagnosis.

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